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SARRF

South Asian Regional Research Forum


In the backdrop of growing terrorist activities across the region of South Asia, the scope of active collaboration and mutual assistance to study terrorism in this region are imperative to curb terror threats in this area. The region of South Asia has a long history of conflict, war and terrorism due to political instability, rampant corruption and civil conflict. Besides the major conflict in the region between India and Pakistan, other countries i.e. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka are victims of terrorism.

So, it is imperative to establish a joint engagement of all South Asian states to exchange and share their own experiences, ideas, obstacles and opportunities for accomplishing counter terrorism strategy. In search of South Asian cooperation for effective counter terrorism strategy, collaborative research and analysis are highly mandatory to facilitate the development of understanding among these countries.

SAARC charter by design does not provide room to discuss bilateral security issues. This is a major stumbling block that hinders the advancement of regionalism in a multi-national platform. Unlike ASEAN, SAARC does not provide an alternative window (e.g. ASEAN Regional Forum) to bring security issues into discussions. There is a long felt need to establish a platform for discussion and informed debate on issues related to security and strategy in the region, as well as the exchange of research papers or data on peace and security matters.

One of the major security concerns of the region is the fast deteriorating scenario of radicalization and extremism. No concerted effort has been made to halt the advancement of growing militancy in the region. Some policy guidelines in this regard were laid down by SARRC but little, if any, substantial gain could be achieved. In light of this, BIPSS has launched a network of leading South Asian think tanks to address issues related to peace, strategy, security etc at track Two Level.

The network is named South Asian Regional Research Forum (SARRF). SARRF will serve as a critical platform for research and analysis of issues involving peace, strategy and security. It will also focus on the protracted and lingering regional conflicts and unresolved security issues. Initially all SARRC member countries are coming to the forum. It is comprised of one Think Tank from each member countries. SARRF will essentially fill up the space and serve as a pivotal area for research and analysis that have been needed for long.

BIPSS is also undertaking a regional research project in the field of Counter Terrorism Strategy (CTS). The driving purpose of this project is to find out avenues to effectively deal with growing terror trends in the region. Given the geographical contiguity, close ethnic and cultural ties, there is much to be gained from shared experience and best practices from the members of the region in finding effective CTS. BIPSS will therefore organize a regional conference titled “Counter Terrorism Strategy: In Search of South Asian Cooperation”, in February 2009, where presentation of the research findings on South Asian terrorism will be made by respective member institutions. The concept meeting for the conference was held in Dhaka from 24-26 October 2008.

SARRF will essentially address wide range of issues related to peace, strategy and security in the region of South Asian. It will foster partnerships with regional and international research organizations and think tanks with a view to creating a comprehensive platform for the study of peace and security issues. The SARRF platform will advocate policy reforms to effectively deal with security and strategic challenges in South Asia. The network will engage to work as a depository for research paper, literature and information related to the above mentioned issues. SARRF will also initiate the process of understanding the evolution and the contours of terrorism in this region and beyond to track down the basic/core/inherent problems and transnational linkages of terrorism in South and South East Asia.

Membership in SARRF is by invitation only. Initial members of the network are; Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS, India), South Asian Foundation (SAF, Nepal), Kabul Center for Strategic Studies (KCSS), Sri lanka Press Institute (SLPI) and host/ initiator institution Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS). A second Think Tank will be welcome from each member states when the forum expands in February 2009. The forum will also invite SAARC observer countries to become its member later.

Paper Presentation: The member institutions (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) will present two research papers each in the February conference. The themes of the papers are Terrorist Group Profile (country specific), transnational terror linkages, CTS best practices and lessons learned. Later, the papers will be published in the form of a book.

Key note speech: two key note addresses will be made by prominent international security experts on issues of transnational Islam and international linkages of terrorism.

Attendance: SAARC member and observer countries, partner institutions, prominent terrorism experts, members of law enforcement agencies, law professionals and media. Attendance in the conference is by invitation only.

Date: 23rd and 24th February, 2009.
Venue: Hotel Radisson Water Garden, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Registration: Academia, individuals and institutions willing to attend the conference will have to register by 01 January, 2009. Due to limited reservation scope for international participants, the registration will be on a first come first serve basis. However, BIPSS will reserve the rights in the admission procedures.

Fee: The registration fee for the whole conference is USD 500 only. This fee will cover attendance of the conference, complete set of research papers presented, 2 conference lunches, invitation to the key note addresses and social evening. All other costs will be borne by the participants.

Mode of payment: Preferred mode of payment is electronic wire transfer to BIPSS bank account. Please write to us for bank account information. Participants can send also send bank draft in the following address.

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