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B. Kalita: Global and Local Responses to Terrorism

Excellencies, ladies and gentleman, my name is Bhubaneswar Kalita, a member of Parliament of India.

At the outset, I would like to convey my gratefulness to the organizers for providing the opportunity to be a part of this International Leadership Conference and share some of my comments with you, who have come from different parts of the globe. 

Although this is my first visit, I became a part of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace and started its chapter in India.

Many speakers have spoken of how parliaments and parliamentarians can help resolve conflicts in different countries, regions and globally.  Parliamentarians represent the people and communicate with the people.

Today, in this session, we are going to discuss “Global and Local Responses to Terrorism.”  Terrorism has many faces in many parts of the globe. Whatever may be its face, it kills—and it mostly kills innocent people. The innocent suffer from terrorist violence.

Without going into the details of what is happening and where, which we all know; without even going into the enormity of suffering [terrorism] has caused, which we all know, we must consider that the only answer to terrorism is dialogue for lasting peace.

Many a conflict leading to terrorism has been resolved through dialogue and peaceful negotiations. It is the responsibility of the authorities to address the conflict however it may appear to be—anywhere and among any group of people. The strong action method pays in the short-term but it is not the long-term solution.

The parliament constitutes the legitimate representation of the people, independent of the executive and [has] the responsibility of overseeing government action.  Parliament and representative bodies like the Legislative Assembly, and local bodies, are well situated as the people’s representatives to manage social issues, to prevent violence, and bring about lasting peace.

The International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace will go a long way to work for these objectives among others.

Peace negotiations, reconciliations and other dialogue processes undertaken or supported by the international community should include parliament and parliamentarians. In many cases, parliamentary or parliamentarian participation, by virtue of their representative function and leadership in society, can play a transformative role. But for peacebuilding against terrorism, our responses have to examine the areas of:

  • participation, representation and reconciliation;
  • dialoguing involving faith-based institutions, civil society and media; we have to cooperate hand-in-hand with each other;
  • promoting socio-economic equality;
  • rule of law;
  • decentralization, parliamentary oversight and regional peace building.

Global platforms like the Universal Peace Federation can play very a significant role in the resolution of conflicts and building peace. Rev. Sun Myung Moon teaches us the ideals of peace in the world and [that] the world is one family.

Ladies and gentleman, I have come from India, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, who [advocated] peace and non-violence, [but which] has [also] become a victim of terrorist violence. We have lost two prime ministers and thousands of innocent people due to terrorism. However, we have succeeded in resolving some conflicts by peaceful negotiation. 

But our concern is cross border terrorism. How [can we] resolve this? We want peace with our neighboring countries, and we are ready to make peace with any of these nations.

Even, in my own region, the north-eastern part of India, most of the militant groups have come over ground for dialogue and peaceful negotiation.

We have coexisted peacefully with neighboring nations like Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, but terrorism is a global problem; we have to end terror globally.

The only way to end [it] is [through] peace and dialogue. We have to rededicate ourselves to fight terrorism.

Thank you for your attention.