By Marie Peffenköver
After the severe terrorist attacks in the inner city of Berlin and on the World Bank in Frankfurt in Germany yesterday, 10 July 2016 which were followed by six suicide bombers’ attacks in Rome, the International Community is shaken by the repercussions of these events: With varying opinions the extent to which the Member States’ reaction to the refugee crisis that reached its peak in October 2015 is to blame for this lack of internal security in the EU, a significant re-awakening of right-wing nationalism throughout Europe and flows of refugees continuing from the crisis regions in the Middle East, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has gathered today in an urgent session to react to the situation. The discussion centres around two core questions of how to cope with the new pressurizing refugee crisis while counteracting to the Islamic State (in Arabian: “Daesh”) in an effective way.
However, although all members of the SAARC are heavily impacted on by the current situation with especially Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan being located at the epicentre of the conflict, the debate is heated up and the negotiations arduous as the perspectives about how to take actions vary widely. Thein Sein, the Head of State of the Republic of Myanmar, sees the responsibility for establishing an effective response at the core of the strongest and most developed countries, respectively.
The discussions are heating up
Currently, the proposition of the Head of State of India, Nerenda Modi, to launch a taskforce to manage the refugee situation and to fight back Daesh, has gained a lot of approval. Yet, although all member countries have expressed their support for such an operation, tensions have arisen between the Delegates of India and Myanmar about the exact amount of military capabilities that are going to be provided by the SAARC’s members.
Moli has already confirmed the contribution of soldiers and the acceptance of a significant number of refugees, while simultaneously providing financial support. However, Sein has attacked this proposal as being too small. With this amount of contributions, the Head of State explained that this accounts for “a minuscule amount of India’s entire army – a ridiculous number”.
Additionally, the Head of State of the Maldives, Abdulla Yaameen, has voiced scepticism about whether the power of Daesh can be diminished through military means alone. “ISIS is right on our doorsteps”, the Delegate cautioned, “and an excessive amount of troops will not be sufficient to solve the problem.”
Next to the pressure imposed upon the SAARC by Daesh, the movements of territorially displaced persons have given the Heads of States lots of concerns. As all Asian states are in deep economic crisis and face refugee problems and internal violence themselves, the Member States feel not prepared enough to face this situation. Protectionist measures such as the closure of borders as proposed by the Delegate of Sri Lanka have already been rejected by Afghanistan as “simply not feasible”.
Nevertheless, the foundation-stone for the SAARC’s taskforce has already been laid: Although the mandate will still be subject to further intense discussions, the political will to mobilize the Asian countries’ forces has been set at the heart of the Directive. Whether this will be sufficient to at least lessen the consequences of the current crises remains to be seen. Yet, the Asian countries have just offered an effort to stabilize the region of the Middle East, to step back from their role as a side player in world politics and to provide the world with a new spark of hope. And this is very much needed right now.
Background: After several terrorist attacks overall in Europe, tensions all over the world have heated up. In Berlin, this even led to violent riots.