External Affairs minister of India S. Jaishankar made a pitch for greater coordination between counter terrorism agencies worldwide.
In his speech to the UN Security Council (UNSC) marking 20 years since the resolutions that announced a global commitment to the war against terror after the U.S. 9/11 attacks.
Urging UN Security Council members not to make false distinctions of “good” terrorists and “bad” terrorists, External Affairs minister S. Jaishankar made indirect references to both China and Pakistan for delaying the process of designating terrorist individuals and entities, as well as failing to stop the funding of terror.
Threat persists for India due to Terrorism:
- These terrorist organisations continue to be attractive to misguided youth in India whose loyalties are extraterritorial.
- Their numbers may not be formidable, but they can cause a ripple effect that cannot be underestimated.
- Terrorist cells are probably engaged in the quiet process of collecting resources for future lethal assaults against India and other countries in the neighbourhood.
- Once the pandemic eases, we may see a resurgence of terror. The aggravation of poverty in developing nations due to COVID-19 could offer a fertile ground for recruitment.
- The al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are carrying out their recruitment undiminished by the problems posed by the pandemic.
- Only these two outfits have an impressive global reach backed by global ambitions.
In UN Security Council (UNSC), India calls for “Zero tolerance to Terrorism”:
- India highlighted the necessity to streamline the process of the UN’s top body in designating terrorists while strengthening coordination in the agencies that check their financial resources.
- First, the world must acknowledge that terrorist organisations use not only extortion and money laundering, drugs and wildlife trafficking to raise funds, but, in the present and future, will use loopholes in digital security and the “anonymity” provided by block chain technology to access finances.
- Second, in a clear reference to Pakistan, India spoke of the need to link actions between the UN and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and for countries that “wilfully provide financial assistance and safe havens” as well as “5 star” treatment to criminals and terrorists, to be held to account by them.
- India words are significant given that a FATF committee, the Asia Pacific Joint Group (APJG), is meeting this week to finalise recommendations for the FATF on whether to continue Pakistan’s ‘greylisting status’, downgrade it to a blacklist, or let it off, decisions that India is watching closely.
- Finally, he pointed to countries that allow their “political and religious” affinities to decide on issues of designation of terrorists, blocking and unblocking requests at the UNSC for such reasons rather than technically evaluate the evidence against these individuals.
- While the broad message here was for China, which has often blocked India’s efforts to designate individuals at the UNSC, this also includes Turkey and Malaysia which have helped Pakistan avoid stringent measures at the FATF thus far.
India working with FATF in counter terrorism operations:
- Counter Terrorism is a priority area for India during this term and [it] looks forward to contributing to the meeting that seeks not only to identify emerging trends but to also laying the groundwork for common priorities that would shape the future multilateral action in the domain of Counter Terrorism.
- India made a call for “enhanced UN coordination with FATF”, just as a meeting of the FATF’s Asia Pacific Joint Group (APJG) got underway, which will review Pakistan’s performance on countering terrorism financing and money laundering, and send recommendations to the FATF Plenary body on whether to continue to keep it on its greylist.
- The speech, at the UNSC open debate on “International Cooperation in combating terrorism 20 years after the adoption of 1373” marked the first intervention by the External Affairs Minister since India began its two-year tenure at the Security Council, along with Ministers from other countries that were elected along with India: Estonia, Ireland, Mexico and Norway.
FATF keeps Pakistan on grey list till next review in February 2021:
The FATF “greylist” refers to countries that are “monitored jurisdictions”, while the “blacklist” refers to those facing a “call to action” or severe banking strictures, sanctions and difficulties in accessing loans.
The FATF process also showed concern about the 4,000 names that were on Pakistan’s Schedule-IV list under the Anti-Terrorism Act up to January, but went missing in September 2020. Pakistan has been asked as to how this happened.
The UK and U.S. also referred to the growing threat from “right wing terrorism”, and “racially and ethnically motivated attacks”, with the U.S. representative announcing that the Washington had designated a “white supremacist group” as a globally designated terror entity for the first time last year.
By drawing the connection between the actions of the UNSC and the FATF together, External Affairs minister of India is indicating that India is not only watching what Pakistan does but also how the international community “walks the talk” on “zero tolerance to terrorism”.