Apr 17, Putrajaya: As a country that suffered three decades of ruthless terrorism, there is a great deal that can be learnt from the Sri Lankan experience with non-state actors, Sri Lanka's Secretary Defense and Urban Development Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.
Addressing the 14th Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference currently underway in Malaysia, the Defense Secretary said that the ability of a non-state actor to mobilize, maintain and successfully utilize a global network to strengthen and sustain terrorist activities in a sovereign nation is a matter of very serious concern.
"That this could take place virtually unhindered is a serious threat to global security," Rajapaksa noted.
Referring to Sri Lanka's defeated Tamil Tiger terrorists group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Defense Secretary said even today, although there is no more terrorism in Sri Lanka, the terrorists' global network continues to function largely unhindered.
He said the LTTE continues to sustain an international propaganda campaign against Sri Lanka through front organizations that have now put on a democratic face.
"Some nations seem to have chosen to turn a blind eye to these front organizations and their activities because they claim to support political activism or humanitarian relief. At the same time, the network's operatives, most of whom are trained terrorists, remain involved in various illegal activities, and are constantly seeking ways to revive terrorist activities in Sri Lanka," he explained.
Apart from terrorism and arms trafficking, the most serious activities by non-state actors in today's context include people smuggling, narcotics trafficking and sea piracy, he pointed out.
According to Sri Lankan Defense Secretary, upholding national, regional and global security is a tremendous responsibility, and adequate safeguards are required to curb the threats posed by various non-state actors.
One of the most critical strategies that nations can employ in this regard is to increase cooperation with each other on this issue through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms, he emphasized.