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Saturday, November 26, 2022

UNSC Counter-Terrorism Committee Meeting

United Nations, FATF, Mumbai Attack Crypto Currency, UNODC. Challenges to Terrorism and initiative to Counter-Terrorism.

Recently, India has hosted a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) to discuss terror-financing through crypto-currency and use of drones in the new-age terrorism.

  • This will be the first such meeting of the UNSC-CTC in India since its establishment in 2001. The Permanent Representative of India (Ruchira Kamboj) to the UN (United Nations) serves as the Chair of the CTC for 2022.
  • Theme: Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.

What is UNSC-CTC?

  • It was established by Security Council resolution 1373 which was adopted unanimously on 28th September 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.
  • The Committee comprises all 15 Security Council member.
    • Five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
  • The Committee was tasked with monitoring implementation of resolution 1373 which requested countries to implement a number of measures aimed at enhancing their legal and institutional ability to counter terrorist activities at home and around the world.
  • This includes taking steps to criminalize the financing of terrorism, freezing any funds related to persons involved in acts of terrorism, deny all forms of financial support for terrorist groups, suppress the provision of safe haven, sustenance or support for terrorists and share information with other governments on any groups practicing or planning terrorist acts.

What are the Highlights of the Meet?

  • India listed five points for the consideration of the CTC,
    • Effective and sustained efforts to counter terror-financing.
    • Normative efforts of the UN need to be coordinated with other fora like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
    • Make sure that the Security Council’s sanctions regime is not rendered ineffective because of political reasons.
    • International cooperation and concerted actions against terrorists and their sponsors including the dismantlement of terrorist safe havens, etc. are critical imperatives.
    • Recognise these linkages and strengthen multilateral efforts to break against terrorism’s nexus with a transnational organised crime like arms and illicit drug trafficking.

What are Emerging Challenges for India?

  • Use of emerging technologies for spreading terror is an issue of increasing concern across the globe.
  • While one of the terrorists of 26/11 strike was captured alive, prosecuted, and convicted by the Supreme Court in India, the key conspirators and planners of the 26/11 attacks continue to remain protected and unpunished.
  • China’s putting a hold on UNSC sanctions against Pakistan-based terrorists on multiple occasions weaken the Security Council to act in some cases.
  • Over the years, terrorist groups have diversified their funding portfolio. They have also begun to exploit the anonymity of new and emerging technologies such as virtual currencies for fund-raising and finances.
  • Pakistan was put on the FATF’s so-called grey list in June 2018 for a lax regime in countering money laundering and terror funding. The FATF removed Pakistan after more than four years at the plenary in October 2022.
    • Discussion over the delisting of Pakistan from last year coincided with a trend of rising terror attacks in Kashmir.

What is Terrorism?

  • About:
  • Any person who commits an offense, with the purpose of the conduct is to intimidate a population or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act, which causes:
      • Death or serious bodily injury to any person; or
      • Serious damage to public or private property, including a place of public use, a State or government facility, a public transportation system, an infrastructure facility or the environment; or
    • Damage to property, places, facilities, or systems resulting in or likely to result in a major economic loss.
  • Indian Initiatives to Tackle Terrorism:
    • In the wake of the terror attack, several steps were initiated to streamline the security set-up.
    • Coastal security was given high priority, and it is with the Navy/Coast Guard/marine police.
    • A specialised agency to deal with terrorist offences, the National Investigation Agency, was set up and has been functioning from January 2009.
    • The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has been constituted to create an appropriate database of security-related information.
    • Four new operational hubs for the National Security Guard have been created to ensure rapid response to terror attacks.
    • The Multi-Agency Centre, which functions under the Intelligence Bureau, was further strengthened and its activities expanded.
    • The Navy constituted a Joint Operations Centre to keep vigil over India’s extended coastline.
  • Global Efforts:
  • The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) leads and coordinates an all-of-UN approach to prevent and counter-terrorism and violent extremism.
    • UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) under UNOCT, promotes international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and supports the Member States in implementing the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
  • The Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) plays a significant role in international efforts.
    • It works to assist the Member States, upon request, with the ratification, legislative incorporation and implementation of the universal legal framework against terrorism.
    • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.

Way Forward

    • An essential aspect of combating terrorism is to curb terror financing effectively.
    • Objective and evidence-based proposals for listing of terrorist groups, especially those that curb their access to financial resources, must be seen through.
    • The international community should rise above political differences and defeat the challenge of terrorism.
    • Technical solutions are necessary to augment and complement the traditional methods of border guarding. They not only enhance the surveillance and detection capabilities of the border guarding forces but also improve the impact of the border guarding personnel against infiltration and trans-border crimes.
    • India should move in the direction of specialisation of military to fight cross-border terrorism.
      • Military should also look at alternative means to strike at the terror camps across the LoC and LAC through mechanisms like Precision Engagement Capability.
  • A judicious mix of properly trained manpower and affordable and tested technology is likely to yield better results.
  • War against terrorism is a low intensity conflict or localized war and cannot be waged without the full and unstinted support of the society and can be lost easily if the morale and resolve of the society to fight against terrorism falters.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions

  1. Q. The scourge of terrorism is a grave challenge to national security. What solutions do you suggest to curb this growing menace? What are the major sources of terrorist funding? (2017)
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