Indonesia and New Zealand agreed on Wednesday (02/08) to improve coordination in combating terrorism through information exchange and preventive measures.
According to a statement released by the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), Wednesday’s meeting was focused on the increasing threat of foreign terrorist fighters, resulting especially from the siege of Marawi City in southern Philippines by pro-Islamic State militants known as the Maute group.
BNPT chief Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius and New Zealand’s assistant commissioner for international and national security, Michael Pannet, also discussed deradicalization programs, with both countries agreeing to exercise a soft-power approach as a means of prevention, particularly toward families and communities with a history of radicalism to alter their orientation and offer counternarratives.
“We agreed to exchange information and share our knowledge on appropriate approach in counterterrorism, especially when it comes to preventive mechanisms,” Suhardi said, as quoted by Antara.
New Zealand, along with Australia, has been consistent in supporting other Southeast Asian countries in capacity-building efforts pertaining to security and combating extremism.
The BNPT is responsible for formulating strategies and national programs for the central government. The agency coordinates 31 ministries and other governmental institutions in implementing counterterrorism policies.
Earlier this year, Suhardi met with other representatives from foreign counterterrorism agencies and signed similar agreements with Spain and Turkey.
Last Saturday, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and Brunei agreed to increase domestic and regional cooperation in deradicalization during a sub-regional meeting in Manado, North Sulawesi.