PTI

India at the UN said on Tuesday that the crime syndicate responsible for the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts was not just given state protection but it also enjoyed a five-star hospitality, in a veiled reference to the D-company head Dawood Ibrahim believed to be hiding in Pakistan.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti told the International Counter Terrorism Conference 2022 organised by the Global Counter Terrorism Council that linkages between terrorism and transnational organised crime must be fully recognised and addressed vigorously.

We have seen the crime syndicate responsible for the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts not just given state protection but enjoying 5-star hospitality, he said.

Tirumurti's remarks were a thinly-veiled reference to D-Company and its head Ibrahim, believed to be hiding in Pakistan.

In August 2020, Pakistan had for the first time acknowledged the presence of Ibrahim on its soil after the government imposed sweeping sanctions on 88 banned terror groups and their leaders which also included the name of the underworld don wanted by India.

Tirumurti said that the UN sanctions regimes, including the 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, are pivotal to the international efforts in preventing terror-financing, terrorist-travel and access to arms by the terrorist organisations.

He, however, voiced concern that the implementation of these measures remains challenging.

It is critical that all sanctions regimes established by the Council ensure due process in their working procedures and decision-making. The decision-making process and listing/delisting measures should be objective, swift, credible, evidence based and transparent, and not for political and religious considerations, the Indian Ambassador said.

He said that a recent report of the Monitoring Team (MT) on the asset freeze exemption procedures pursuant to resolution 2560 (2020) points to the lacunae of asset freeze measures by member states, partly due to deficiencies in the existing guidelines of the Committee.

Al-Qaida's Links With Pak-Based Terror Groups Like LeT, JeM Continue To Strengthen

Al-Qaida's linkages with UNSC proscribed Pakistan-based terror groups like LeT and JeM has continued to strengthen, India's envoy to the UN said on Tuesday, underlining that the recent developments in Afghanistan have only served to re-energise the terrorist group.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti told the International Counter Terrorism Conference 2022 organised by the Global Counter Terrorism Council that the Islamic State (ISIS) has changed its modus operandi with its core focus is now on regaining ground in Syria and Iraq, and its regional affiliates are strengthening their expansion, especially in Africa and in Asia.

Similarly, al-Qaida remains a major threat and recent developments in Afghanistan have only served to re-energise them. Al-Qaida's linkages with Security Council proscribed terrorist entities like Lashkar e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed has continued to strengthen. Its regional affiliates in Africa continue to expand, he said.

Tirumurti said that in the global counter-terrorism domain, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 had proved to be a turning point in our approach towards terrorism.

The September 11 attacks highlighted that the threat of terrorism is grave and universal and can only be defeated by the collective efforts of all UN member states, he said.

Tirumurti also said that terrorism in one place can directly impact peace and security in another.

Consequently, the era of classifying terrorists as your terrorist and my terrorist was over. Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is to be condemned and there cannot be any exception or justification for any act of terrorism, regardless of motivations behind such acts, and wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed, he said, adding that the menace of terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group.

Tirumurti underlined that the global fight against terrorism is as strong as the weakest link in the global chain of member states, and the Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee plays a very important role in identifying such weak links and strengthening them, including by facilitating necessary capacity building.

Tendency Of UN Members To Label Terrorism Into Categories Is Dangerous

India on Tuesday termed as dangerous the tendency of several UN members, driven by their political, religious and other motivations, to label terrorism into categories such as racially motivated violent extremism and right wing extremism, saying this will take the world back to the pre-9/11 era of labelling them as your terrorists and my terrorists .

Highlighting some counter-terrorism trends and developments at the UN, their impact on the global counter-terrorism discourse and India's approach towards them, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti told the International Counter Terrorism Conference 2022 organised by the Global Counter Terrorism Council that the first trend is what is being referred to as emerging threats .

This is essentially a move to categorise terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism, based on the motivations behind such acts.

In the past two years, several member states, driven by their political, religious and other motivations, have been trying to label terrorism into categories such as racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism, violent nationalism, right wing extremism among others. This tendency is dangerous for several reasons, he said.

Tirumurti noted that such a tendency goes against some of the accepted principles agreed to by all UN member states in the recently adopted Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which clearly states that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations should be condemned and there cannot be any justification for any act of terrorism, whatsoever.

Second, this will take us back to the pre 9/11 era of labelling terrorists as your terrorists and my terrorists and erase the collective gains we have made over the last two decades.

The Council should be on guard against new terminologies and false priorities that can dilute our focus, he said.

Tirumurti said it is important to understand that in democracies, right-wing and left-wing are part of the polity primarily because they come to power through the ballot, reflecting the majority will of the people and also since democracy by definition contains a broad spectrum of ideologies and beliefs.

We therefore need to be wary of providing a variety of classifications, which may militate against the concept of democracy itself. Fourth, even such labels are being given to so-called threats which are limited to certain national or regional contexts. The extrapolation of such national or regional narratives into a global narrative is misleading and erroneous. Such trends are neither global nor have any agreed global definition, he said.

Tirumurti also stressed that recently, a resurgence of terrorist activities has been witnessed both in their range and diversity as well as geographical space.

Recalling the Security Council resolution on Afghanistan, adopted under India's Presidency in August 2021, he said it is vital that sympathisers of al-Qaida in Taliban stop their support to al-Qaida and Islamic State (ISIS).

Further, developments in Afghanistan are being closely watched in Africa by terrorist and radical groups. We need to ensure that they and other regional affiliates of ISIL and al-Qaeda don't get emboldened and take advantage of armed conflict situations in and around the Sahel region and Lake Chad Basin area, the Indian Ambassador said.

He highlighted that another trend which has of late become prominent is highlighting certain religious phobias.

The UN has highlighted some of them over the years, namely, those based on Islamophobia, Christianophobia and antisemitism - the three Abrahamic religions. These three find mention in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. But new phobias, hatred or bias against other major religions of the world need to also be fully recognised.

The emergence of contemporary forms of religiophobia, especially anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias is a matter of serious concern and needs attention of the UN and all member states to address this threat. It is only then can we bring greater balance into our discussion on such topics, Tirumurti said.

He also cautioned that the misuse of information and communication technology such as internet and social media for terrorist propaganda, radicalisation and recruitment of cadre; misuse of new payment methods and crowdfunding platforms for financing of terrorism; and misuse of emerging technologies for terrorist purposes have emerged as the most serious threats of terrorism and will decide the counter-terrorism paradigm going forward.

Further, being a low-cost option and easily available, utilisation of drones and aerial/sub-surface platforms by terrorist groups for purposes such as intelligence collection, weapon/explosives delivery and targeted attacks have become a challenge for security agencies worldwide, Tirumurti said.

In our context, we have witnessed terrorists using UAS (Unmanned aircraft system) to smuggle weapons and drugs across the borders and also launch terrorist attacks.

Given the transnational nature of these treats, this warrants a holistic collaborative approach by member states, private sector, civil society organisations among others, as well as to strengthening support to financial watchdogs such as FATF to ensure that member states bring their counter-financing structures at par with international standards, he added.

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