Interaction with Prof. Baoz Ganor on Counter-Terrorism
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On 14 March 2017, the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) invited the globally renowned counter-terrorism expert, Prof. Bao Ganor, Founder & Executive Director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and Dean at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, University of Herzliya, to deliver a talk on the topic of “Countering ‘Glocal’ (Global and local) Terrorism – Challenges and Dilemmas”, followed by an intense interactive session. With General NC Vij, Director, VIF, in the Chair, many security and policy experts, including Lt Gen Ravi Sawhney, Mr. CD Sahay, Mr. PC Haldar, and Mr. KM Singh among others, extensively interacted with the visiting professor as a follow-up to the presentation.

General NC Vij set the ball rolling with his agenda-setting remark, highlighting the foremost impediment to an effective global response against terrorism comes at the first entry point i.e. defining what exactly constitutes terrorism. Taking the bull by the horns, Prof. Baoz Ganor defined terrorism “as the deliberate use of violence by non-state actors, aimed at civilian targets, in order to achieve political ends”. The VIF’s faculty however contested this definition of terrorism as it left out a vital reference to state-sponsored terrorism of which India has been a victim to, while they agreed that terrorism needed to be fought back in all its forms and manifestations. Stating that no matter what motivations the terrorists might have, acts of violence against hapless civilians can never be condoned, Prof Ganor raised the premium that terrorists must pay for inflicting causalities on civilians as compared to attacks on fortified military targets.

Experts who had assembled for the interaction broadly agreed that an objective definition to terrorism will help in: (1) outlawing terrorist organizations; (2) preventing state’s sponsor to terrorism; and (3) stopping incitement for terrorism. Among other highlights of Prof Ganor’s talk, he put the spotlight on various terrorist groups and their modus operandi – ‘Lone Wolf’ or ‘Jihadi Zombie’ (Personal Initiative Attacks), Independent Networks (Local Initiative Attacks), and Networks of connected Organisations (Organized Attacks). While strategizing on counter-terrorism, Prof Baoz Ganor underscored that there was nothing sacrosanct about killing innocent civilians in the name of religion. The Professor further suggested that scanning social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook etc. could provide some online clues about potential ‘lone wolf’ behavior. Besides discussing the Lone Wolf phenomenon, the professor also dwelt on hybrid terrorist organisations such as Hamas, Al Qaeda and the Daesh in his presentation.

Terrorism emanating from Pakistan’s soils and targeted towards India, among other topics, also propped up during the interactive session.

Event Date 
March 14, 2017
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