India, Maldives to finalise pact to combat Islamic State


With India and the Maldives seeking to reinvigorate the bilateral ties, the two countries are working towards finalising a pact to combat the world’s most dreaded terrorist organisation, the Islamic State (IS). The Maldives is facing the threat of radicalisation of Maldivian youth and their recruitment by the IS.

The increased radicalisation of youth in the region has become a major issue in South Asia. “Radicalisation is a big concern and a threat that we are extremely worried about,” Maldives foreign secretary Ali Naseer Mohamed said. Mr Mohammed met with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar on March 12. He said that information sharing was the best way to prevent people from travelling to the IS dominated regions.

According to an official estimate, around 40 Maldivian nationals could have been recruited by such groups. The Maldives is working closely with India and Sri Lanka in intelligence sharing. “Even the figure of 40 is quite big for the Maldives which has a population of just 3,50,000. Even one Maldivian becoming a terrorist and killing people is enough to shake our society,” Mr Mohamed said.

The cross-border mechanism between the two countries will not be restricted to only intelligence sharing. “There is a discussion between the Indian government and the Maldives on establishing a cross-border mechanism to address this issue and already the Maldives has institutionalised the process,” the Maldives High Commissioner to India Ahmed Mohamed said.

The two countries are sharing policies on deradicalisation, as well as working with communities on preventing youth from being recruited for the dreaded terrorist organisation. “Our biggest challenge is the potential returnees from IS training camps, who are trained in firearms,” Mr Ahmed said.

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