British Home Secretary's significant visit
Britain's Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has been here in Dhaka on what was certainly a significant visit. In the course of her trip, she gave people a good deal of food for thought. Her unambiguous statement that there are links between terrorist outfits in Bangladesh and Britain is quite a revelation coming from a senior British government functionary. The reason is simple: rarely in the past has a British cabinet minister, or for that matter any high profile western visitor, been as candid as Ms. Smith. The issue she talked about in Dhaka is one that demands the closest attention. The possible global links between terrorist groups are matters that have persistently exercised minds in Bangladesh at various levels of government and also among the general public.
The British Home Secretary did not unveil the linkages even in broad outline, but she did note that a high level British-Bangladesh joint working group would be meeting in June to work out the details of practical programmes on counter-terrorism. One key aspect of such programmes will be sharing of information on terrorism and anti-terrorism training. That will surely be a step forward in dealing with the menace. We would like to add, though, that such information as passes between Dhaka and London should also be made available to the general public in Bangladesh in order for them to be forewarned of the threats held out by extremism. Since obviously the goals of the two governments in tackling terrorism are similar, it stands to reason that Bangladesh's citizens should be kept informed of the extent to which terrorists are maintaining links with one another in the two countries as well as their sources of funds. Both Britain and Bangladesh have experienced terrorist activities in the last few years. Since London has demonstrated much efficiency, especially since the 7 July bombings, in watching out for new outbreaks of extremist-related activism, we may have notes to exchange. That only emphasises the need for regular, necessary dissemination of public information about terrorist activities and so secure the fullest measure of public cooperation in combating terrorism
Overall, Jacqui Smith's visit to Bangladesh was a reminder of what her country and Bangladesh need to do jointly to tackle the forces of extremist disorder. And together the two countries can put in their efforts in identifying the threats to global security and tackling them head-on.