India moots permanent secretariat to fight terror

The proposal for a permanent secretariat to sustain the continued global focus on counter-terrorism financing took delegates by surprise, as Mr. Shah said India would circulate a discussion paper

November 19, 2022 05:36 pm | Updated November 20, 2022 07:52 am IST - New Delhi

Union Home Minister Amit Shah addresses the concluding session of the third ‘No Money for Terror’ Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Financing. Twitter/@AmitShah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah addresses the concluding session of the third ‘No Money for Terror’ Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Financing. Twitter/@AmitShah

India has proposed a permanent secretariat for “No Money for Terror,” a ministerial body, to sustain the continued global focus on countering the financing of terrorism, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on November 19, 2022.

The Minister in his capacity as the chair of NMFT, also reiterated India’s position that all countries will have to agree on one common definition of ‘terrorism’ and ‘terror financing’, adding that it “should not become a political issue.”

He also called for the prevention of the use of Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) to spread terror Ideology.

Mr. Shah was delivering the chair’s address on the conclusion of the NMFT conference.

“During the deliberations, India has sensed the need for permanency of this unique initiative of NMFT, in order to sustain the continued global focus on countering the financing of terrorism and now the time is ripe for a permanent Secretariat to be established.

India will circulate a discussion paper to all participating jurisdictions for their valuable comments,” Mr. Shah said.

The announcement took delegates by surprise. One of them said the proposal was not part of the discussions at the two-day conference and he would like to see more paperwork on it.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is another multilateral body that monitors terror financing and money laundering. An official said that NMFT is complimentary to FATF as the latter is membership based while NMFT is ministerial.

Mr. Shah saidsaid that terrorism, today, has taken such a formidable form, that its effects are visible at every level. He said that that no country or organisation can successfully combat terrorism, alone and the international community must continue to fight shoulder-to-shoulder against this increasingly complex and borderless threat.

He said that the Government of India has also decided to develop national and global databases on crimes such as terrorism, narcotics, and economic offenses.

 He said that over the past two decades, the United Nations Security Council has developed a framework to deal with the threat of terrorism, with the main objective of creating a “counter-terrorism sanctions regime”. He said that the system established by the United Nations has successfully curbed to some extent, the actions of countries that make terrorism a state-funded enterprise, but it has to be further strengthened, made more rigorous, and transparent.

He said thatall countries and organisations must pledge complete transparency in sharing intelligence in a better and more effective manner. He said the war against terrorism has to be fought in every geographical and virtual space.

“There have been many instances when, under the guise of other motives, some organisations promote terrorism and radicalisation at the national and international levels. He noted that it has also been found that these organizations tend to become the medium of financing terrorism. Recently, India banned an organisation that conspired to radicalise the youth and push them towards terrorism and that every country should identify and take stringent action against such organisations,” Mr. Shah said without specifically naming the Popular Front of India (PFI).

He stated that according to an estimate by the IMF and the World Bank, criminals around the world launder around 2 to 4 trillion dollars every year and a major part of it goes to fuel terrorism.

He suggested several measures such as preventingdiversion from legal financial instruments by fighting anonymity in financial networks, restricting the use of proceeds of other crimes for terrorist activities, preventing use of new financial technologies, virtual assets such as crypto-currencies, wallets etc., for terror activities, eliminate the use of Illegal channels, cash couriers, hawala by terror networks and continuous capacity building of counter-terror and financial intelligence agencies of all countries.

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