Abuja: In an address to officers of the National Defence College here in the Nigerian capital on Wednesday, Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari said societies that stand for peace and humanism have to increase their cooperation and strengthen efforts to prevent supply of arms to terrorists, disrupt terrorist movements, and curb and criminalise terror financing.
“We have to help each other by sharing intelligence, securing our cyber space, and minimising the use of Internet and social media for terrorist activities,” he said while delivering his lecture on “Emerging Security Imperatives in the context of India-Nigeria relations”.
Describing terrorism as one of the most egregious sources of human right violations and a major impediment to development, he said, “Your country, like my own, has suffered the horrors of this scourge of humanity. Terrorism today has global reach, no city remains safe. There is a new level of threat to pluralist and open societies.
“Use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy is to be unequivocally condemned. There can be no distinction between good and bad terrorists. A terrorist is a terrorist; one who commits crimes against humanity cannot have any religion, or be afforded any political sanctuary.”
He said the long standing defence partnership between the two nations is symbolised by institutions such as the Nigerian Defence Academy at Kaduna; the Naval College at Port Harcourt and other elite military training establishments in Nigeria.
“Many illustrious Nigerian officers have been the flag bearers of our bilateral cooperation. Today, we have an Indian Army Officer present amongst you as a participant of the ongoing NDC Course. This augurs well for our cooperation in the future.”
Considering the diverse security challenges of our times, stronger India-Nigeria relations would not only be mutually beneficial, but would also add to the regional and global security, he said.
“Together we stand as giants of Africa and Asia respectively and as we march ahead in our quest for economic and military security, collaborative efforts borne out of mutual trust can be leveraged effectively to achieve our strategic goals,” the Vice President said.
He also said both the countries must find ways of using international opinion as a force multiplier.
“No country in the world, howsoever powerful, can counter the emergent threats unilaterally. This, therefore, makes diplomacy doubly important for developing economies such as ours. Effective diplomacy is an important alternative to excessive defence spending.
“Therefore, it is important to devise methods of effectively participating in international fora, in influencing world opinion,” he said.
He said threats posed by religious fundamentalism, ethnic violence and economic disparities can no longer be ignored, particularly when globalisation and information technology can make changes “fast, furious and most unexpected”.