Counter-Terrorism Committee India

India to host UNSC meet on counterterrorism in October

The United Nations Security Council holding a meeting in New York.

The United Nations Security Council holding a meeting in New York. | Photo Credit: Reuters

In a first, India will host diplomats and officials from all 15 countries of the United Nations Security Council, including China, Russia and the United States, for a special meeting on terrorism, in Delhi and Mumbai in October.

The meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), which India is chairing for 2022 as a member of the UNSC, will focus particularly on challenges such as terrorism financing, cyberthreats and the use of drones, said officials.

New Delhi is expected to highlight cross-border threats from Pakistan and Afghanistan at the meeting, which will come two months before India completes its tenure as an elected member of the UNSC (2021-22).

In addition, India has been pushing for the UN members to adopt a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (first proposed in 1996), which is likely to be raised during the meeting.

“The event will showcase India’s role as a victim of terrorism as well as a country at the forefront of global counter-terrorism efforts,” said an official involved in the planning.

Newer threats

Sources also said that while terror financing was now recognised and dealt with through mechanisms such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), it was necessary to build templates and “codes of conduct” for newer threats, including financing through cryptocurrency and the use of drones for terror attacks.

They said the CTC meeting in India could also pave the way for a possible visit to New York by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December, where India will be the President of the UNSC for the entire month.

In August 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Modi had chaired a UNSC special session on Enhancing Maritime Security virtually, in which several leaders and senior officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, had attended.

Officials said India’s UN Mission, where Permanent Representative Ruchira Khamboj presented her credentials on Tuesday, would be working on ensuring maximum participation at the event, in case the Prime Minister decides to travel.

An earlier plan to travel to Washington in December for the Democracy Summit to be convened by U.S. President Joe Biden may be put off, as the summit is likely to be postponed.

Announcing the visit of the delegates, the United Nations said that the special meeting had been convened on October 29 in India, in view of “the increasing threat posed by the misuse of new and emerging technologies”.

“The special meeting will specifically focus on three significant areas where emerging technologies are experiencing rapid development, growing use by Member States (including for security and counter-terrorism purposes), and increasing threat of abuse for terrorism purposes, namely (a) the Internet and social media, (b) terrorism financing, and (c) unmanned aerial systems,” the announcement said.

Officials told The Hindu that the details of the visit were still being finalised, including whether the visiting delegates would include Permanent Representatives or Ministers at the respective missions of the member states.

The meeting in India, which is normally held in New York, had been discussed and planned since early this year, said sources, as part of events to mark the 75th anniversary of Independence.

The alleged killing of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul in a U.S. drone strike over the weekend “proves the continued presence of international terror groups” in the region, as had been detailed in the CTC’s report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team that was submitted to the UNSC by then Indian UN envoy T.S. Tirumurti in May, officials pointed out.

The report had indicated al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan, and the freedom accorded to it by the Taliban regime to “recruit, train, raise funds and produce video messages from Zawahiri”, and had also indicated the presence of anti-India groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 2:01:50 pm |