Sydney and Peshawar may be thousands of miles apart in different continents, but the hostage crisis in Sydney and the senseless killings of 132 children in Peshawar by hardened militants and criminals underline the insidious spread of terrorism across the globe. Against this backdrop, India, a repeated victim of terror attacks, has exhorted the world community to join hands to “decisively and comprehensively defeat terrorism.”
“The events of the last two days were on two different continents; in different hemispheres; on our two opposite flanks. While seemingly disparate, both are manifestations of the darkening shadow of terrorism,” India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Lok Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament, on December 17.
“Both these developments, taken together, are a clarion call for all those who believe in humanity to join hands to decisively and comprehensively defeat terrorism. On our part, India stands ready to play our role in this global endeavour,” the minister underlined.
Alluding to the Sydney hostage drama, the minister informed the parliament that the two Indians taken hostage were successfully rescued, with the ministry providing “valuable, timely and actionable inputs to establish their identity and monitor their welfare.”
“Prime Minister himself was constantly monitoring the whole situation,” the minister said. The Lindt Café, which was targeted by a self-styled Iranian sheikh, was located barely 350 metres away from the Indian consulate. But with proactive coordination between the Australian agencies and the Indian consulate, all the officials emerged unharmed. “The Consulate was shut down.However, consular services like visa, passport, OCI and PIO cards, continued as normal since these are provided at a safe distance from the Café.”
Mr Modi also spoke to his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott and thanked him for his leadership that led to the resolution of the crisis and the release of the hostages. “The incident in Sydney is a grim reminder to governments, societies and individuals of the threat held out by terrorism anywhere in the world. We have ourselves been victims of terrorist acts against this Parliament, our temple of democracy, in the year 2001. It is my government’s resolve to fight all forces of terror so that we can all live and prosper in a peaceful and harmonious society,” Swaraj said.
Referring to the slaughter of innocent children by militants at an army school in Peshawar, the minister stressed that Prime Minister Modi in a late night conversation has conveyed to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif that the people of India shared the heart-rending pain and sorrow of the bereaved families and the people of Pakistan and stood with them in solidarity.
“In their darkest hour, we reached out and expressed our heartfelt condolences to the grief-stricken families, transcending boundaries and differences.”
Transcending boundaries and differences – this should be the operative mantra for the world to collectively fight the scourge of terrorism. For any ambivalence or half-heartedness on this front can spawn hundreds of such tragedies in the future, with innocent victims caught in the crossfire of state politics and the mindless terror machinery of warped-up ideologies.
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