Jakarta. Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu warned on Wednesday (11/07) that the international community must brace for the rise of "third-generation terrorism."
Speaking at the 2018 Indonesia International Defense Science Seminar in Jakarta, the minister was referring especially to the return of Islamic State fighters from the Middle East.
"Based on Defense Ministry's intelligence data, about 31,500 foreign fighters who joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq," Ryamizard said, adding that 800 them came from Southeast Asia, with 400 from Indonesia alone.
The new threat is largely decentralized, and swoops onto regions in the form of sleeper cells and "lone wolf" operations, as well as online radicalization through social media and by other means utilizing advanced technologies.
According to the minister, defense diplomacy and cooperation must be furthered to develop the Indo-Pacific region's security architecture.
"Recalibration of the Indo-Pacific region's security architecture is an urgent matter that must be brought about so we can navigate every threat and challenge in the region appropriately," he said, adding that no country can solve these types of security risks on its own.
"We cannot avoid the need for cooperation among countries in the region, as we are facing these security threats together, at the same time."
In January, the Ministry of Defense launched "Our Eyes" surveillance and intelligence-sharing initiative, which involves Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, to strengthen regional resilience in the aftermath of a five-month siege of Marawi City in southern Philippines.
According to Ryamizard, other partner countries, including the United States, Russia, Australia and Japan, have expressed a desire to join.
Security cooperation involving many international actors is essential in the face of potential risks arising not only from militancy, but also less obvious sources, including the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine State, as the oppressed are vulnerable to being recruited by terrorist groups.
"Concrete steps and joint handling must be taken to address the potential threat coming from this crisis. If we do not handle it properly, these vulnerable refugees may be recruited by ISIS."