New Delhi, Nov 18: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday said terrorism was the most serious threat to global peace and security but financing of terror was even “more dangerous”.
An official spokesman in a statement issued on Press Information Bureau (PIB) said that addressing the first session of the third ‘No Money for Terror’ Ministerial Conference on ‘Global Trends in Terrorist Financing and Terrorism’ theme in New Delhi, the Home Minister said terrorism was undoubtedly the most serious threat to global peace and security.
“But I believe that the financing of terrorism is more dangerous than terrorism itself, because the 'means and methods' of terrorism are nurtured from such funding. Furthermore, the financing of terrorism weakens the economy of countries of the world,” he said. “India condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”
Shah said that there was no reason that could justify an act like taking innocent lives.
“I express my sympathy for the victims of terrorist attacks all over the world. We should never compromise with this evil,” he said. “India has been a victim of terrorism for several decades, which is sponsored from across the border. Indian security forces and civilians have had to deal with incidents of extremely serious terrorist violence perpetrated in a sustained and coordinated manner. The international community has a collective approach that terrorism must be condemned in all its forms. But the forms and manifestations of terrorism are continuously evolving due to technological revolution.”
The Home Minister said: “Terrorists and terrorist groups understand the nuances of modern weapons and information technology, and the dynamics of the cyber and financial space very well, and use them. This transformation of terrorism from ‘dynamite to metaverse’ and ‘AK-47 to Virtual Assets’ is definitely a matter of concern for the countries of the world. And we all have to work together to formulate a common strategy against it.”
He said that the terror threat cannot and should not be linked to any religion, nationality, or group.
“To confront terrorism, we have made significant progress in fortifying the security architecture, as well as the legal and financial systems. In-spite of this, terrorists constantly find new ways to carry out violence, radicalise youth and raise financial resources. Terrorists are using the darknet to spread radical content and conceal their identities. Additionally, there is an increase in the use of virtual assets like cryptocurrency. We need to understand the patterns of these darknet activities and find their solutions,” Shah said.
He said that unfortunately, there were countries that seek to undermine, or even hinder, the collective resolve to fight terrorism.
“We have seen that some countries protect and shelter terrorists, protecting a terrorist is equivalent to promoting terrorism. It will be our collective responsibility that such elements never succeed in their intentions,” the Home Minister said. He said that after August 2021, the situation in South Asian region had changed.
“The regime change and the growing influence of Al Qaeda and ISIS have emerged as a significant challenge to regional security. These new equations have made the problem of terror financing more serious. Three decades ago, the whole world had to bear the serious consequences of one such regime change, the result of which we all have seen in the horrific attack of 9/11. In this background, last year changes in the South Asian region are a matter of concern for all of us. Along with Al Qaeda, organisations in South Asia like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad continue to spread terror,” Shah said. “We should never ignore terrorists' safe havens or their resources. We also have to expose the double-speak of elements that sponsor and support them. Therefore, it is important that at this conference, the participating countries, and the organisations, should not take a selective, or complacent perspective of the challenges of this region.”
He said that the problem of financing terror had become widespread.
“In the last few years, India has succeeded in cracking down on terror financing. India's strategy against the financing of terrorism is based on these six pillars: Strengthening the legislative and technological framework; creation of a comprehensive monitoring framework; actionable intelligence sharing mechanism and strengthening of the investigation and police operations; provision for confiscation of property; prevent misuse of legal entities and new technologies and establishing international cooperation and coordination,” the Home Minister said.
He said that in this direction, India had strengthened the fight against terrorism and its financing, with the amendment of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, strengthening the National Investigation Agency (NIA), and giving a new direction to financial intelligence. It is the result of our continuous efforts that terrorist incidents in India have come down drastically.
“This has also resulted in a drastic reduction in the economic losses caused by terrorism,” Shah said. “India believes that the most effective strategy to deal with terrorism is international coordination and real-time and transparent cooperation among the nations. Cooperation among countries in areas such as extradition, prosecution, intelligence sharing, capacity building and ‘Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT)’ is important in the fight against terrorism. Our mutual cooperation becomes even more important given that terrorists and terrorist groups easily coordinate and conjoin their resources across borders.”
He said that the emerging trends of the illegal trade of narcotics, and the challenge of narco-terror, had given a new dimension to terror financing.
“In view of this, there is a need for close cooperation among all nations. Multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and the presence of platforms such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), are most effective in terms of preventing terrorism in the field of CFT. FATF is playing an important role in setting and implementing global standards to prevent and combat, money laundering and terrorist financing. We have a new challenge in the form of Virtual Assets before us,” the Home Minister said.
He said that terrorists were using new methods of virtual assets by for financial transactions.
“To crack down on the use of virtual asset channels, funding infrastructure and darknet, we need to work coherently towards developing a robust and efficient operational system,” Shah said. “United Nations, IMF, Interpol, and other stakeholders such as law enforcement agencies, financial investigators, and regulators of various countries can have a more positive impact in this regard. We must understand these challenges in-depth and make efforts globally to curb the new techniques of terror financing, as was done in the recently concluded Interpol General Assembly in New Delhi.”
He said that India remains committed to all efforts to combat terrorism by sharing intelligence, capacity building for effective border control, preventing misuse of modern technologies, monitoring and preventing illicit financial flows, and cooperating in investigative and judicial processes.
“To achieve the goal of ‘no money for terror’, the global community must understand the ‘mode-medium-method’ of terror financing and adopt the principle of ‘one mind, one approach’ in cracking down on them,” the Home Minister said. “We started this conference today with the address of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I am confident that in these two days there will be a meaningful discussion on various dimensions of terror financing and meaningful solutions will be ideated for the present and future challenges. As the Home Minister of India, I want to assure you that our commitment towards the objective of 'no money for terror' is as strong as your enthusiasm to participate in this event.”