Countries making terrorism state policy must face economic sanctions: Amit Shah

‘India will develop databases on terrorism, narcotics, economic offenses’
He said that it would also help to mould this discussion into strategic thinking in the days to come.
He said that it would also help to mould this discussion into strategic thinking in the days to come.Special arrangement

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah Saturday said that every country should act against organisations pushing youth towards radicalisation.

An official spokesman in a statement issued on Press Information Bureau (PIB) issued here said that delivering the concluding remarks at the closing session of the third ‘No Money For Terror’ conference (Counter-Terrorism Financing) in New Delhi, the Home Minister said, “Every country will have to identify and act against organisations pushing youth towards radicalisation and take stringent action against them.”

In his address, Shah said that during these two days of the conference, the delegates discussed emerging trends in terror financing, misuse of new emerging financial technologies, and international cooperation in the field of terror financing to effectively achieve the objective of 'no money for terror'.

He said that it would also help to mould this discussion into strategic thinking in the days to come.

The Home Minister said that this was a unique forum for participating countries and organisations to discuss the effectiveness of the current international regime of combating the financing of terror, and to discuss solutions to emerging challenges.

“Terrorism, today, has taken such a formidable form, that its effects are visible at every level. Terrorism is the biggest enemy of democracy, human rights, economic progress, and world peace, which we cannot allow to succeed,” he said.

Shah said that no country or organisation could successfully combat terrorism alone.

“The international community must continue to fight shoulder-to-shoulder against this increasingly complex and borderless threat,” he said.

The Home Minister said that in the last few decades, India had successfully tackled many challenges, including terrorism.

He said that with India’s policy of zero-tolerance against terrorism, a strong framework of counter-terror laws, and empowerment of agencies, India had seen a significant reduction in incidences of terrorism and succeeded in ensuring strict punishment in the cases of terrorism.

Shah said that forensic science was being promoted with the aim of equipping the investigation with science and technology and, in this direction, with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the world's first National Forensic Science University had been established.

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

The Home Minister said that to combat cybercrime in a comprehensive manner, the Government of India had established the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Center. He reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resolve that India would be the focal point of international cooperation for “counter-terrorism (CT) and combating financing of terrorism (CFT)".

“We cannot think of a fear-free society, a fear-free world without an effective, long-term, concerted fight against all forms of terrorism. The citizens of our nations have entrusted a bigger responsibility of their protection to the leadership, and it is our duty to live up to this responsibility,” Shah said.

He said that over the past two decades, the United Nations Security Council had developed a framework to deal with this threat, with the main objective of creating a “counter-terrorism sanctions regime”.

The Home Minister said that this system established by the United Nations had successfully curbed to some extent, the actions of countries that make terrorism a state-funded enterprise, but it had to be further strengthened, made more rigorous, and transparent.

He said that the first commitment should be cooperation with transparency and all countries and organisations should pledge complete transparency in sharing intelligence in a better and more effective manner.

“We have to fight this war against terrorism and terrorist groups, in every geographical space, in every virtual space,” Shah said. “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 said that it had also been found that these organisations tend to become the medium of financing terrorism.The Home Minister said that recently, the Government of India had 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.

He said that some countries, their governments and their agencies had made terrorism their state policy.

Shah said that in these terror havens, it was necessary to shackle their unrestrained activities along with a strict economic crackdown and all the countries of the world would have to make up their minds on this, rising above their geo-political interests.

“We observe that some countries repeatedly support terrorists and those who harbour terrorism, but, terrorism has no international boundaries, so all countries should think beyond politics and cooperate with each other,” he said. “At the same time, all countries will have to agree on one common definition of 'terrorism' and 'terror financing', because it is an issue of the protection of our citizens, and their human and democratic rights, it should not become a political issue.”

The Home Minister said that terrorists understand Information Technology and cyberspace very well and they also understand the sensitivity of the public and tend to exploit them.

He said that cyberspace today had become a major battleground in the fight against terrorism.

Shah said that there had also been multiple changes in weapons technology too and these 21st-century lethal technologies and drone technologies were also accessible to terrorists now.

He said that the growing links of terrorism with organised crimes like narcotics, crypto-currency, and hawala, had increased the possibility of terror financing manifold.

The Home Minister said that the primary goal of this conference was to identify various channels and ideate a practical and workable roadmap against terror financing and identifying its various channels.

He said 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.

Shah said that considering the quantum and challenges, the agencies and authorities working in the areas of counter-terror and terror financing, had to adopt a long-term strategy.

He drew the attention of the delegates towards some priority issues like preventing diversion 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 like crypto-currencies, and wallets for terror activities; eliminate the use of illegal channels, cash couriers, and hawala by terror networks; prevent the use of non-profit organisations, NPOs sector to spread terror ideology; and continuous capacity building of counter-terror and financial intelligence agencies of all countries.

The Home Minister said that across all stages of terror financing like fund-raising, fund movement, layering through other crimes, and finally, usage for terrorist activities, had to be cracked down at each stage and each stage that requires a “specific but collective approach” on a global scale.

He said that all the countries should implement the standards, and recommendations set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) not just on paper, but in spirit.

Shah said that to combat the financing of terrorism, the approach must be based on five pillars including establish a comprehensive monitoring framework involving cooperation, coordination, and collaboration among all intelligence and investigative agencies; the strategy of ‘trace, target, and terminate’, to be adopted from low-level economic offenses to more organised economic crimes; strengthening and harmonising the legal structures related to terror finance; developing a robust mechanism against the misuse of next generation technology; and strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for asset recovery.

He said that to stop the borderless finance movement that supports terrorism, there was a need to accept the approach of “beyond-border cooperation” for making this platform successful.

The Home Minister reiterated India’s commitment against terrorism and terror financing.

He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India was committed to work with all countries to combat terror financing in all its forms like money laundering, misuse of digital financial platforms, and hawala.

Shah said that during the deliberations, India had sensed the need for permanency of this unique initiative of NMFT to sustain the continued global focus on countering the financing of terrorism and now the time was ripe for a permanent secretariat to be established.

He said that to take this thought forward, the chair statement includes the offers to establish a permanent secretariat in the country and shortly, India would circulate a discussion paper to all participating jurisdictions for their valuable comments.

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