The UN Security Council celebrated the 20th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1373 by holding a virtual meeting. It is a landmark resolution in the global fight against terrorism. Tunisia steered the UNSC discourse on this critical issue.
Addressing the meeting on Resolution 1373, adopted in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks; India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar said the Resolution reminds us that terrorism continues to be the gravest threat to mankind. It not only grievously impacts human life but attacks the very foundation of humanity. By adopting this Resolution, the Security Council conveyed its unequivocal determination to address the menace of terrorism.
Dr. Jaishankar said, India has always been at the forefront of global counter terrorism efforts. In 1996, long before the adoption of Resolution 1373, India took the initiative to pilot the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) with the objective of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combating terrorism. India has signed and ratified all the major conventions and protocols on terrorism adopted by the UN, and are part of all major global initiatives in that regard.
The Indian External Affairs Minister said, Resolution 1373 and the Counter Terrorism Committee are important pillars of the global architecture against terrorism. Other UN initiatives, including the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, play a notable part in augmenting capabilities of member States and extending technical and capacity building assistance. The UN sanctions regime has also been an effective tool in the fight against terrorism.
In recent years, terrorist groups and lone wolf attackers have significantly enhanced their capabilities by gaining access to new and emerging technologies, including drones, virtual currencies and encrypted communications. Social media networks have contributed to the radicalization and recruitment of youth. The COVID-19 pandemic has only aggravated the situation further. The relative isolation and extended disruption due to the lockdowns and the associated distress and economic uncertainty has made the world more susceptible to radicalizing narratives and extremist propaganda.
Dr. Jaishankar said, some States lack the legal and operational frameworks and technical expertise needed to detect, investigate, and prosecute terrorist financing cases. However, there are also other States that are clearly guilty of aiding and supporting terrorism, and wilfully provide financial assistance and safe havens. The international community must collectively call out such nations and hold them accountable.
For the UN system to credibly address the menace of terrorism and ensure effective action, the Indian External Affairs Minister proposed points that could in a way be an Action Plan.
States must all summon the political will to unhesitatingly combat terrorism. Terrorism should not be allowed to be justified or terrorists glorified. All member States must fulfil their obligations enshrined in international counter terrorism instruments and conventions. Double standards in this battle should be countered. Terrorists are terrorists; there is no good or bad distinction.
The Indian Minister called for reform the working methods of the UN Committees dealing with Sanctions and Counter Terrorism. Transparency, accountability and effectiveness are the need of the day. The practice of placing blocks and holds on listing requests without any rhyme or reason must end. This only erodes our collective credibility.
All nations must firmly discourage exclusivist thinking that divides the world and harms social fabric. Such approaches facilitate radicalization and recruitment by breeding fear, mistrust, and hatred among different communities. The Council should be on guard against new terminologies and false priorities that can dilute our focus.
Dr. Jaishankar called for enlisting and delisting individuals and entities under the UN sanctions regimes objectively, not for political or religious considerations. Proposals in this regard merit due examination before circulation.
Linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime must be fully recognized and addressed vigorously. India, has seen the crime syndicates responsible for the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts not just given State protection but enjoying 5-star hospitality.
Combating terrorist financing will only be as effective as the weakest jurisdiction. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) should continue to identify and remedy weaknesses in anti-money laundering and counter-terror can make a big difference.
The Indian External Affairs Minister called for adequate funding to UN Counter Terrorism bodies from UN regular budget requires immediate attention.
Script: Kaushik Roy, AIR: News Analyst