India Acutely Aware of Socio-economic and Human Cost of Terrorism: Muraleedharan at UNSC Debate

India said on Thursday that it has been a victim of state-sponsored cross-border terrorism for nearly past three decades and it is acutely aware of the socio-economic and human cost of terrorism, in an apparent dig at Pakistan.

India also expressed hope that a special meeting of the UN Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee it is hosting later this month will contribute positively towards creating a global architecture that effectively responds to the new tech tools deployed by terrorists and its backers against open, diverse and pluralistic societies.

India is currently Chair of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee for the year 2022 and will host diplomats of the 15-nation UN body, including US, China and Russia, for a special meeting on counter-terrorism to be held in Mumbai and New Delhi on October 28-29. “As the Chair of the Counter Terrorism Committee this year, India would be hosting its special meeting in Mumbai and New Delhi later this month on 28-29 October, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said on Thursday.

Addressing the UN Security Council debate on Peace and Security in Africa: Strengthening the fight against the financing of armed groups and terrorists through the illicit trafficking of natural resources’, chaired by Gabon, Muraleedharan reiterated New Delhi’s invitation to member states to participate in the upcoming meeting.

He expressed hope that the special meeting will contribute positively towards creating a global architecture, which is fit for purpose and effectively responds to the new tech tools deployed by terrorists and its backers, against open, diverse and pluralistic societies.

According to the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), 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 the Internet and social media, terrorism financing, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

It will provide opportunities to discuss existing and evolving threats, the deployment of new and emerging technology to counter those threats, continuing challenges and good practices, as well as a range of related human rights and gender considerations.

“Mindful of the increasing threat posed by the misuse of new and emerging technologies, the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee has decided to hold a Special Meeting on this theme, with the support of its Executive Directorate (CTED), the UN agency said.

Muraleedharan added that India has been at the forefront of the global fight against terrorism. “As a country which itself has been a victim of state-sponsored cross-border terrorism for nearly past three decades, India is acutely aware of the socio-economic and human cost of terrorism, he said.

He noted that in 1996, India had taken the initiative to pilot the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism with the objective of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combating terrorism. India has also signed and ratified all the major conventions and protocols on terrorism adopted by the UN, and are part of all major global initiatives including Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

He further told the Council meeting, chaired by Gabon, that the continuing lack of representation of Africa in the permanent category of the UN Security Council’s membership is an “historical injustice” that needs to be corrected sooner than later.

Given that more than half of the Security Council’s work is focused on Africa, India has been consistently calling for greater representation of Africa, through an increase in both permanent and non-permanent categories of this Council’s membership, in line with the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, he said.

Muraleedharan said the international community needs to enhance assistance to African countries to strengthen capacities to fight illegal exploitation of natural resources and trade.

“Furthermore, a violence-free Africa would need to be freed from the shackles of external forces driving exploitation of natural resources in Africa,” he said, adding that India has been calling for a development paradigm that is Africa-led and Africa-owned and centred on the progress and development of the people of Africa.

He also called for the need to support the national and regional security initiatives as well as capacity building efforts towards effective border surveillance and security.

Noting that African security initiatives such as Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), South African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), and African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), have proven their success in countering terrorism, he said these are Africa’s home-grown solutions, led by African countries who have better understanding of their issues.

The international community should provide sustainable and adequate financial and logistical support to such regional security initiatives, he said.

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