e-book The Politics of Extremism in South Asia

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The porous borders between Bangladesh and Myanmar and the emergence or re-emergence of groups such as the Rohingya Solidary Organisation and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army following the riots in Rakhine State in have prompted fears that Myanmar could be the next stage for a militant Jihadist struggle. Finally, it is important to recognise that it is not only countries with Muslim populations that are facing growing radicalisation.

While radical Islam may receive the most attention, politicised religiosity is on the rise throughout Asia.

Growing extremism as source of strategic instability in Asia

As already noted, Buddhist nationalism has been a trigger for the growth of Islamic extremism in Myanmar — similar extremist sentiments have also been seen in other countries with predominantly Buddhist populations, including Thailand and Sri Lanka. However, as the country heads toward parliamentary elections in and the Modi government consolidates its position after a string of state election victories, latent fears persist that the government will show its 'true colours' by reverting to the ideological roots of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its sister organisations in the Sangh Parivar.

China meanwhile is demonstrating a different sort of reversion to conservatism embedded in the perceived superiority of Chinese culture. Under President Xi Jinping, there has been a concerted effort to not only centralise power but also revive traditional Chinese cultural practices.

In some cases, the solutions to these challenges harken back to lessons learnt from earlier efforts. For instance, a coordinated regional approach is necessary in tackling the ungoverned spaces that so often emerge as breeding grounds for extremism. Addressing the maritime piracy threat in the mids required the creation of the Malacca Straits Patrol initiative, comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. A similar process today is the recent establishment of the Trilateral Maritime Patrol Indomalphi between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, which will facilitate intelligence sharing and joint patrols around their tri-border region a regional hub of criminal and terrorist activity.

Similar coordinated efforts are required in tackling the ungoverned spaces between Bangladesh and Myanmar that link South and Southeast Asia , which have traditionally been regarded as separate, mutually exclusive regions.

Violent Extremism and Crisis Management

However, these developments also allude to the need for new solutions. For instance, the growth of radical civil society groups requires as much if not more emphasis on counter-radicalisation as there has traditionally been on counter-terrorism. In this context, long-overdue revisions to Indonesia's counter-terrorism laws are necessary to address issues ranging from the radicalisation of prison populations to apprehending fighters returning from the Syrian conflict.

As the preceding discussion illustrates, the proclivity for extremism has spread beyond the 'usual suspects'. It is no longer merely Pakistan, Afghanistan, the southern Philippines and parts of Indonesia that are vulnerable. Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand are now joining the list of countries facing growing religiosity and extremist behaviour. In the case of China and India, such pressures have the potential to not only contribute to the persecution of minorities at home but also fuel growing assertiveness abroad, which would pose broader geopolitical risks.

Finally, just as the leadership void created by Trump's 'America First' agenda has been a catalyst for growing inter-state instabilities in Asia, so growing puritanism in Asia can also be regarded as another by-product of the 'age of Trump', demonstrating that growing intolerance is not confined to the West.

Politics of Extremism and Violence in Pakistan and India

The absence of the United States as a champion of liberal, democratic, secular values has given forces on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum more space to expand their influence and flourish. View the discussion thread. Google Tag Manager.

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Growing extremism as source of strategic instability in Asia. Chietigj Bajpaee. There have been several changes in the nature of this threat in recent years: 1.

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Radical civil society While not discounting the role played by global transnational terrorist organisations in contributing to extremism, it is important to recognise that legitimate grievances are often at the heart of growing religious fervour. Beyond the 'usual suspects' Another observation is the growth of radical and militant religious groups in places where they did not previously exist, such as in Malaysia. Democracy as catalyst for radicalisation Repressive regimes have long been recognised as catalysts for extremism, as illustrated by the cases of the Central Asian republics and Xinjiang, where restrictions on religious practices have inadvertently encouraged the growth of more extremist brands of Islam.

Beyond radical Islam Finally, it is important to recognise that it is not only countries with Muslim populations that are facing growing radicalisation. Conclusion As the preceding discussion illustrates, the proclivity for extremism has spread beyond the 'usual suspects'.

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Related Content. International justice: tackling impunity in Asia. Show Comments View the discussion thread. Previous Article Vietnam: Kidnapping undermines efforts to seek friends and influence. Sarah Logan 25 Aug This week's include also include the return of Telegram to Indonesia and wedding pix that went viral. Chietigj Bajpaee 22 May Nick Bisley 31 May This book will be of much interest to students of terrorism and political violence, counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, Asian politics and security studies in general.

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Publishers description This volume of case studies examines the rise in violent extremism, terrorism and insurgency in South and South East Asia, and subsequent state responses. Share 0. Afghanistan al-qaeda british-muslims counter-terrorism countering violent extremism Criminology CVE deradicalisation disengagement education egypt europe extremism far-right foreign fighters gender government-policy ideology internet iraq ISIS islam Islamic-State islamism jihad jihadism middle-east Open Access prevent-strategy propaganda Radicalisation radicalization recruitment religion religion-and-violence schools social media syria taliban terrorism uk uk-government-policy united-states violence violence-and-religion.