India and Singapore to boost cooperation in face of radicalisation threat posed by Iraq, Syria

A photograph received from the Ministry of Defence on August 19, 2014 shows Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (left) shaking hands with Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley at South Block in New Delhi. Dr Ng said events in Syria and Iraq, and inc
A photograph received from the Ministry of Defence on August 19, 2014 shows Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (left) shaking hands with Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley at South Block in New Delhi. Dr Ng said events in Syria and Iraq, and increasing "opportunities for the radicalisation of people" in their home countries was discussed in all his meetings with the Indian leadership. -- PHOTO: AFP 

NEW DELHI - India and Singapore are looking at stepping up intelligence cooperation and sharing of information to combat the growing threat of transnational terrorism, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has said.

Echoing a growing concern among security officials worldwide, Dr Ng, who is in India for a three-day official visit, noted that the conflicts in Iraq and Syria were helping to spawn a new "multi-national force’" of militants from Asia, Europe and beyond.

As such, the sharing of information among countries was "crucial" to countering the threat.

He added: "The more we know, the safer we can be and better prepared we are. And no single country or agency can know everything. We have to come together and share information."

Dr Ng was speaking to the Singaporean and Indian media after meeting his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, and national security adviser Ajit Doval.

The minister said that specific cases did not come up for discussion in the talks with the Indian leadership. 

Bilateral concerns about the issue of transnational terrorism surfaced in March this year when it emerged that an Indian national and a Singapore citizen, both of whom were working in Singapore, tried to take part in the conflict in Syria.

According to Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs, Gul Mohamed Maracachi Maraicar, a 37-year-old Indian national working as a systems analyst with a multinational company in Singapore, helped to radicalise Haja Fakkurudeen Usman Ali, 37.

Haja, a former Indian national who obtained his Singapore citizenship in 2008, reportedly travelled to Syria recently to join the fighting. His current status and whereabouts are unclear.

Singapore’s Home Ministry said it had deported Maraicar for helping radicalise Haja, and banned him from entering Sinhapore.

Intelligence agencies in India, too, have been looking into the problem of Indian youths getting radicalised by the sectarian violence in Iraq and Syria.

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