South Asia facing new threats of terrorism: Rajnath

India on Friday voiced concern over the new threats of terrorism and violence posed to South Asia especially after the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan this year and asked SAARC countries to chalk out strategies to check radical groups and extremist ideologies.

Addressing the sixth meeting of SAARC Interior and Home Ministers here, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said South Asian countries need to carefully assess the impact on the entire region of the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

“We all share a common and indeed vital stake in peace, stability and economic development in Afghanistan. We are naturally concerned by new threats of extremism, terrorism and violence being held out to South Asian countries like India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which cannot but raise concerns,” he said.

Singh said groups with radical and extremist ideologies do pose threats across national boundaries, in this volatile security environment and these groups even have no compunction in issuing threats publicly against neighbouring and regional countries.

He said a major issue that concerns all South Asian nations is terrorism, which is driven by internal, regional and international factors, within and across national boundaries.

Singh said there was sea change in the strategic environment in the neighbourhood with the emergence of a new dispensation in Afghanistan following the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.

“The international community has lent unprecedented support to the democratically elected Government of Afghanistan. It is our hope that this will continue,” he said.

Most NATO troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year as the US-led war effort against the Taliban winds down.