U.N. Security Council members to pay tributes at Mumbai 26/11 memorial

Counter-Terrorism Committee meet in India part of government push in last two months at UNSC to keep focus on terrorism, terror financing

Updated - October 26, 2022 09:03 am IST

Published - October 25, 2022 09:29 pm IST - NEW DELHI

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lays a wreath at the 26/11 memorial in Mumbai on October 19, 2022. Photo: United Nations Information Centres via AFP

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lays a wreath at the 26/11 memorial in Mumbai on October 19, 2022. Photo: United Nations Information Centres via AFP

Ambassadors of all countries in the U.N. Security Council will attend a memorial for victims of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai on Friday, as a part of a special session of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) at the Taj Mumbai hotel, one of the sites of the attacks in 2008.

The ceremony would include a joint wreath-laying ceremony as well as separate floral tributes by United Nations officials and representatives of every country in the Security Council, said officials, stressing the significance of China’s ambassador being a part of the event, given its record of placing holds on listings of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists at the UNSC in the past four months.

The officials said that with just two months to go on India’s two-year tenure as an elected member of the U.N. Security Council, and Pakistan let off the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list last Friday, India is doubling up on efforts to highlight cooperation on terrorism and terror financing.

“From January onwards India will not be ‘in the room” [at the UNSC] for these discussions on countering terrorism and discussing listings. So it is necessary to find ways to highlight these issues and keep global pressure on fighting terrorism,” explained former Indian Ambassador to the U.N. Asoke Mukerji, who suggested the “Sudan model” on listing terrorists. The Sudan model refers to a logjam at the UNSC over U.S. requests to list four Sudanese terrorists under the UNSC Resolution 1591 sanctions regime, which was blocked by China. Eventually, in April 2006, the U.S. was able to force a vote at the UNSC, which saw the listings go through, as Russia and China abstained from the vote.

‘Sudan model’

Officials of the Ministry of External Affairs did not comment on whether India and the U.S. were considering a similar push for a vote at present, but New Delhi has expressed its frustration with China’s blocks on its joint terror listing proposals with the U.S. for five commanders of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, including 26/11 terrorist handler Sajid Mir, LeT recruiter and fund collector Shahid Mehmood, and Hafiz Saeed family members Abdur Makki and Talha Saeed, all wanted for their role in the Mumbai attacks.

These will also be highlighted at the upcoming “No Money for Terrorism” conference in Delhi in November which will be inaugurated by Home Minister Amit Shah, and by officials preparing for a visit to New York by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to chair a session of the U.N. Security Council in November.

The CTC meeting in Mumbai follows a week after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited the 26/11 memorial, and was taken through an exhibition of photos of the terror attacks on Mumbai hotels, the CST railway station, and other locations over three days, that left 166 people dead.

The visiting ambassadors, who would include both current and incoming members of the UNSC, Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, United Nations Office on Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), Weixiong Chen, Acting Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), would also meet with some of the victims of the attacks who had met Mr. Guterres, which will be followed by an “informal briefing on combating terrorism financing in the local and regional contexts”, according to the CTC’s draft agenda.

On Saturday, the CTC delegation will move to Delhi for a day-long conference that will focus on new technologies used by terrorists, threats from unmanned aerial systems (such as drones), and countering terrorism financing. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will deliver the keynote address, and a number of experts will address the conference, including FATF vice-president Elisa de Anda Madrazo.

Last week, the government had reacted with reservations to the decision by the FATF to take Pakistan off the “grey list” or watchlist on terrorism financing, saying that “it is in global interest that the world remains clear” that Pakistan continues to take “credible” and “sustained action” against terrorism from its territories.

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