The changing global security environment has posed various challenges. The increasing networking and connectivity have given a dangerous edge to extremist operations, especially in the context of escaping the inter-country security radars.
Apart from anonymity provided by the technological advancement, another factor that has cushioned extremist organizations around the globe is the lack of adequate security cooperation.
History testifies that major extremist attacks could not be prevented because of poor intelligence cooperation. For instance, the US 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre was reported to be both internal and external intelligence failure.
This attack boosted the confidence of extremist organizations around the globe and commenced the bloody war against terror with the US at the cost of numerous causalities.
Mumbai 2008 attacks could have been prevented if the intelligence links by three countries that are India, UK, and Us, were connected in time.
The Ottawa shootings in 2014 is another case of intelligence failure. The European Union, considered to be a close affiliation, suffered a shock at the time of Paris Attack on November 13, 2015.
The stated extremist attacks suggest three alarming pointers. Firstly, all extremist attacks that happened in the past resulted in a lack of intelligence within the right duration.
Secondly, each attack was well planned. And, given the intensity of the attacks, it is clear that it required a lot of coordination through digital channels. Thirdly, these attacks could have been prevented if the intelligence of the countries closely monitored the activity of terror groups collectively and exchanged all Intel relevant to regional intelligence agencies, instead of keeping them exclusive.
There is an inherent conflict of interest between nation-states. However, extremism is a plague that is affecting each country from the core, hence making it a common enemy to global security. With technology evolving every day, the fight against terrorism will remain ineffective unless countries on regional and global level cooperate on intelligence base.
It has been observed that when an effective intelligence sharing took place, security agencies have been successful in unfolding terror channels and maintaining adequate security. Recently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India was able to get a hold of HabiburRahaman, an alleged handler of hardened Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Shaikh Abdul Naeem, after he was deported from Saudi Arabia. Intelligence Officials maintained that the catch resulted due to security cooperation between security agencies of India and Saudi.
Further, the security officials meeting at Shanghai Cooperation Organisation suggest that India and other regional countries are moving towards strengthening inter-country security coordination.
However, what we need is not just a regional-based plan, but a practical framework for global counter-terror operations in preventing and countering terror attacks. It is time that we move towards global inter-country security cooperation before it’s too late.