India on Friday told the United Nations (UN) that the country is facing the scourge of terrorism from across the borders for decades and rued that its counter-terror efforts get thwarted due to lack of global support in exchange of information and extradition of the accused “hiding” outside.
India also warned that no country can be considered safe from terrorist acts.
Addressing the United Nations High-Level Conference on Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies, Rina Mitra, Special Secretary, Internal Security, Home Ministry, pointed out that terrorist entities today have links and operate across borders building networks.
She added that the terrorists are raising funds in various ways including internationally, propagating ideologies of hate, recruiting from foreign lands, sourcing arms and weapons from distant providers and smugglers and exploiting modern communication technologies that dissolve distances.
“They are able to select targets of their choosing in countries of their choosing, cross borders often with help from state agencies and inflict terror on innocent peoples. They are able to do this because nation states still struggle to collaborate with their partners and neighbours on countering activities of terror networks, often due to narrow political considerations,” she said.
“Worse, there are well known instances of some states using terror entities for their political ends, providing them with safe havens and other support,” she added. Mitra told the conference that India has had to face the scourge of terrorism, mostly originating outside its borders, increasingly over the last two decades, adding that the country’s counter-terrorism agencies have developed considerable expertise in preventing such attacks and bringing their perpetrators to justice.
“Many of our efforts continue to be thwarted due to lack of international collaboration in respect of exchange of information and evidence or of extradition of the accused persons who are hiding outside our territory,” she added.
The UN had convened its first-ever High-Level Conference on Counter-Terrorism. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on nations to fight terrorism together with methods that do not compromise the rule of law and human rights.
The UN chief said, “We should engage with all who can help us achieve our goals, including empowering young people through education, jobs and training, and engaging women and all of civil society in the fight against terrorism.”
Mitra said terrorism can be effectively tackled only if there is genuine collaboration among nations. While over the past seven decades, some international treaties have elicited international collaboration on specific kinds of terrorist threats, a more comprehensive approach, as embodied in the proposed Convention on Countering International Terrorism “is required in tackling the contemporary form of terrorism that is evolving all the time continues to elude us”.
Referring to the sanctions committee in the Security Council, Mitra said some practical steps to counter terrorism have been mandated by the council through establishment of specific sanctions committees but these have had limited success. “Such efforts have also run into political difficulties due to differing strategic considerations of major powers,” she said, adding that the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) being discussed by the UN General Assembly over the last decade has also had limited practical impact.
Mitra expressed hope that the UN Conference of counter-terrorism experts and practitioners will start a serious exchange of practical ideas and push for a more coordinated approach to counter terrorism at a global level.
“We hope that this will also provide concrete suggestions for international collaboration. This will also help us discuss some of the emerging threats and challenges posed by international terrorism,” she said.
Mitra said India stands ready to work with partners to strengthen practical aspects relating to counter-terrorism efforts, including exchange of timely and actionable intelligence, prevention of misuse of modern communication technologies and social media platforms, monitoring illicit financial flows and sharing of information relating to movement of passengers.
(With PTI inputs)