On 25-27 June, delegates from across the world gathered at the Queen Elizabeth conference centre in London for the first annual Securing Asia trade, technology and intelligence summit.
Aimed at connecting the growing Asian security market with Western firms and experts, the event hosted high-profile speakers, including former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and officials and academics from across Asia and the Middle East.
The first day of the conference focused on four main themes; understanding the Asian mindset, attitudes and perceptions, identifying the security needs faced by India and Pakistan in the coming years, confronting terrorism and insurgencies, and highlighting the region’s need for new technologies.
The conference began with a speech by Jack Straw, who discussed “The British Experience of Battling Terrorism: Lessons for Policy Makers and Business Opportunities in Asia.” He highlighted a “critical issue” faced by states in recent years; that of balancing the protection of civilians with approaches to tackle the root causes of terrorism, adding that dialogue should be central to confronting violent organisations.
Despite his call for negotiation and engagement, Straw dismissed notions of dialogue with Al Qaeda, calling their demands “general and fantastic”, and “an impossible basis for any negotiation.”
A highlight of the first day was a speech by Dr Maliha Lodhi, Pakistan’s former Ambassador in Washington and London. She criticised what she called the “demonisation” of Pakistan in the Western media, and an apparent “alarmist paradigm prevailing outside the country that Pakistan is about to go ‘over the edge’, implode or collapse”.
Dr Lodhi suggested that the populace and military of Pakistan have made great sacrifices in the war against terrorism, noting that around 5,000 security p