India has vehemently criticised the cross-border financing, propaganda, and recruitment by the United Nations (UN) designated terrorist organisations highlighting that they continue to destabilise entire regions. He added that such cross-border terrorism poses a serious challenge, as the coordinated international response is too slow to be effective in most cases.
Speaking on Tuesday at the third high-level special event of UN and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) titled 'Cooperation to promote peace, security and stability: preventing the linking of terrorism with organized crime and its financing through drug trafficking', India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin asserted, "UN-designated terrorist organizations such as ISIL, Al-Shabab, Al-Qaida, Boko Haram, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, continue to destabilise entire regions through their cross-border financing, propaganda, and recruitment, including by using - rather abusing- evolving global public goods such as the cyberspace and social media."
"The cross-border nature of such fused entities and their financing activities poses a serious challenge, as the coordinated international response is too slow to be effective in most cases," he added.
He said, "Terrorist organizations are engaging in lucrative criminal activities such as human trafficking to raise funds. Criminal groups have joined hands with terrorists to provide illicit financing through drug trafficking, arms dealing, selling looted antiquities, money laundering and counterfeiting. Depending upon the circumstances, these groups can coexist, cooperate and even converge."
Addressing the Chairman, he said, "The terror-crime nexus is an existential global threat, the contours of which are mutating every day. To combat this menace we will all need to keep ahead of the new trends and technologies - something that can only be achieved if we work together, with a zero-tolerance approach, bereft of double standards. India is committed to supporting such cooperation with the UN system and its global partners."
The foundation of a coherent response to issues of the narcotics trade, illegal financing and counterfeiting lies in frameworks like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), that set standards with respect to combating money laundering and terrorist financing, he said. "Terrorist organizations have to recruit and train fighters, buy weapons and equipment, wage propaganda campaigns, and plan and carry out operations. These activities cost money, so understanding how groups raise, store, move, and spend that money helps to bring terrorists to justice and deters others from harbouring them or funding or joining their organizations," he further added.
Asking the UN to increase cooperation and coordination with such bodies, he said, "There needs to be much greater rigour and transparency in the implementation of instruments already at the disposal of the UN, such as the Security Council regimes targeting terrorist entities and individuals. The efforts at concluding the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) have seen little progress at the UN and require to reinvigoration."
He said that the role of new and emerging technologies, including virtual currencies, encrypted communications and artificial intelligence is an "added challenge" but there is still no common global strategy to curb criminal activities in cyberspace.
"The SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) is a useful mechanism for coordinated action against terrorism and drugs. We welcome the expansion of SCO’s cooperation with UNODC and the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Narcotic-Trafficking," he said.
On its part, India has acceded to the ‘SCO Agreement on Cooperation in Combating Illegal Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors’ which provides for cooperation in the analysis of crimes related to illicit narcotic-trafficking and harmonization of national legislation in the fight against narcotics trafficking. India is part of the SCO dialogue mechanisms in the field of counter-narcotics, he added.