World is at last joining India’s fight against terrorism as a common enemy
The deliberations at the conferences show how much countries look forward to India to formulate a comprehensive strategy against global terrorism.
India recently hosted three international conferences, reflecting how much ground it has recovered from the time its voice in combating terrorism was largely ignored.
Since independence, terrorists like Islamic radicals, Kashmiri separatists, North East insurgents, Naxalites and Khalistanis have taken a heavy toll of lives of our civilians and security forces. It was always a difficult task to contain them, given the material and ideological support terrorists drew from across some sections of our society and political parties.
This trend continues even today.
Other problem was that terrorists received weapons, training, finances and sanctuaries from China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal in furtherance of their strategic interests. Then, we had USA and its European allies who chose to ignore rise of Taliban, al-Qaeda, Khalistanis, ISIS etc. Their understanding was that since terrorists located in their countries were no threat to their internal security, they could not oblige Delhi by joining a common fight against terrorism.
Inevitably, the US and Europe paid a heavy price for their complicit attitude. Twin Tower in New York was gutted down by al-Qaeda and bomb blasts, explosions, killings and mowing down of hapless people became a regular occurrence.
These incidents forced them to realize the need for coordinated approach to information sharing and tracking of finances, movement and operational cooperation among terrorist groups and began working for it in right earnest. However, complete understanding among all nations to wipe out terrorism remained a chimera, thanks to Pakistan and Afghanistan that profit from being nurseries of terrorists and China. Beijing is perhaps waiting for a 9/11 to happen to learn its lesson.
The deliberations at the conferences show how much countries look forward to India to formulate a comprehensive strategy against global terrorism. At the 90th annual General Meeting of Interpol in Delhi, PM Modi called upon representatives of the world's investigative agencies to pay special attention to monitor movements and activities of terrorists without getting constrained by extraneous considerations.
The UN Security Council counter terrorism committee at its special conference held in Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai for the first time outside the UN headquarters, New York on 28-29 October adopted what it called 'Delhi Declaration'. It was attended by 93 member countries and multilateral agencies and the site was chosen to remind delegates of the horrific 27/11, 2008 terror attack at the hotel in which many foreigners died and China's repeated blocking of perpetrators of the crime - Sajid Mir, Abdul Rauf Azhar and Abdul Rehman Makki - from being listed in UNSC's 1267 committee list as global terrorists.
The Delhi Declaration drew delegates' attention to increasing use by terrorists of emerging technologies (crowd funding, internet, metaverse etc) to raise and remit funds, radicalise, train and arm youths and use unmanned aerial systems like drones to deliver drugs, arms, explosives and counterfeit currencies. But it failed to make it binding on member states to treat all acts of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable and to abstain from providing active or passive support to entities and persons involved in terror acts.
The same helplessness was noticeable at the third 'No Money for Terror' (NMFT) ministerial summit in Delhi on 18th, 19th and 20th November. Several delegates sought to impose cost on nations that back terror, turn a blind eye to finances coming from organized crime, gun running, smuggling, money laundering and provide ideological and political support.
Pakistan and Afghanistan obviously chose not to attend the conference and China sent a junior diplomat who talked of technicalities and platitudes to cover up Beijing's defence of terrorists. Once again, the summit failed to adopt the 1996 comprehensive convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that provided a legal framework binding all signatories to deny funds and safe heavens to terrorist groups due to opposition from China, Pakistan and Turkey.
India's position at the conferences was summed up by PM Modi who called for a total war on terror and a uniform, unified and zero tolerance approach to tackle terrorism. While countries with blurred priorities may not fully appreciate his views, India has no choice but to have a strong political leadership and keep building its capacity to take on this scourge.
(Amar Bhushan worked with the Research and Analysis Wing for 24 years after briefly serving in the BSF intelligence, State Special Branch and Intelligence Bureau. He served as the Special Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat before he retired in 2005.)
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