Manila: In the last few years there have been repeated warnings issued about the increasing influence of the ‘IS’ and other terror cells in Southeast Asia. The ongoing campaign in the Marawi City of Philippines and a video released by the ‘IS’ confirms the same. On this ground, the Southeast Asian countries are making an alliance to combat the expansion of the terrorist organizations. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has submitted an important proposal of creating a joint anti-terrorist division with major countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.
In a ceremony on Sunday President Rodrigo Duterte made an announcement on this issue. ‘I would soon be having a discussion regarding this matter with the Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. All three of us have an unanimity on this matter and a meeting would be conducted at an appropriate time. There will be a discussion primarily regarding the establishment of a joint anti-terrorist group. For such a campaign Philippines is ready to open its borders to Indonesia and Malaysia and they will be given full permission to enter Philippines’, said the Philippines President.
From the last week of May, post gaining control on the ‘Marawi City’ of Philippines, the terrorist groups affiliated to ‘IS’ had initiated a strong conflict. After a period of a staggering three months, the conflict is still on and its acute repercussions have started to emerge in Southeast Asia along with the Asia-Pacific countries. Prior to the campaign in Philippines, terrorist attacks were also executed in Malaysia and Indonesia.
In the Southeast Asian countries like Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, the terrorist groups affiliated to ‘IS’ and ‘Al-Qaeda’ were found to be active earlier as well. The insurgents and terrorist groups active in Southeast Asia like ‘Abu Sayyaf’, ‘Jemaah Islamiyah’ and ‘Moro National Liberation Front’ have accepted affiliation with terrorist groups like the ‘IS’. A fear is being repeatedly expressed that the terrorist groups active in these countries will use these countries as their foundation and will increase their influence in other southeast nations.
Against this backdrop, these three nations have given indications that the war against terror will be dealt more aggressively. Earlier, in the month of June Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines had come together to start a joint campaign ‘The Trilateral Maritime Patrol Indomalphi’. Under this operation, a separate Maritime Command Center (MCC) was erected in each of these 3 nations. These centers are active at Tarakan in Indonesia, Tawau in Malaysia and Bongao in the Philippines. Under the new campaign, joint maritime patrolling has started by these countries with the help of helicopters, drones and warships.
The US and Australia have aided this new operation against the ‘IS’ and the other terrorist groups in Southeast Asia and have assured to continue the same in the future. On this ground, the formation of a joint anti-terrorist group by these 3 countries is proving to be gripping attention.