Union Home Minister Amit Shah yesterday delivered concluding remarks at the closing session of 3rd ‘No Money For Terror’ Conference (Counter-Terrorism Financing).
Union Home Minister said that terrorism, today, has taken such a formidable form, that its effects are visible at every level. He said that “Terrorism is the biggest enemy of democracy, human rights, economic progress, and world peace, which we cannot allow to succeed”. Shah said that no country or organization can successfully combat terrorism, alone. The international community must continue to fight shoulder-to-shoulder against this increasingly complex and borderless threat.
Union Home Minister said that in the last few decades, India has successfully tackled many challenges, including terrorism. He maintained that with India’s policy of Zero Tolerance against Terrorism, a strong framework of counter-terror laws, and empowerment of agencies, India has seen a significant reduction in incidences of terrorism and has succeeded in ensuring strict punishment in the cases of terrorism.
Shah said that forensic science is being promoted with the aim of equipping the investigation with science and technology and, in this direction, with the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the world’s first National Forensic Science University has been established. Shah 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 in order to combat cybercrime in a comprehensive manner, the Government of India has established the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Center. Union Home Minister reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve that India will be the focal point of international cooperation for “Counter-Terrorism (CT) and Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT)”.
Amit Shah said that 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. He said that over the past two decades, the United Nations Security Council has developed a framework to deal with this threat, with the main objective of creating a “counter-terrorism sanctions regime”.
He said that this 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.
Union Home Minister said that our first commitment should be cooperation with transparency and all countries and organizations must pledge complete transparency in sharing intelligence in a better and more effective manner. He said that we have to fight this war against terrorism and terrorist groups, in every geographical space, in every virtual space.
Shah said that there have been many instances when, under the guise of other motives, some organizations promote terrorism and radicalization 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. Shah said that recently, the Government of India has banned an organization that conspired to radicalize the youth and push them towards terrorism and that every country should identify and take stringent action against such organisations.
Amit Shah said that some countries, their governments and their agencies have made ‘Terrorism’ their State Policy. He said that in these Terror havens, it is necessary to shackle their unrestrained activities along with a strict economic crackdown and all the countries of the world will have to make up their minds on this, rising above their geo-political interests. Shah said that 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 that 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.
Union 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 has become a major battleground in the fight against terrorism. Shah said that there have also been multiple changes in Weapons Technology too and these 21st-century lethal technologies and drone technologies are also accessible to terrorists now. He said that the growing links of terrorism with organized crimes such as narcotics, crypto-currency, and hawala, have increased the possibility of terror financing manifold.
Shri Amit Shah said that the primary goal of this conference is to identify various channels and ideate a practical and workable roadmap against terror financing, identifying its various channels. 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. Shah said that considering the quantum and challenges, the agencies and authorities working in the areas of counter-terror and terror financing, have to adopt a long-term strategy. Shah drew the attention of the delegates towards some priority issues,
- 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, wallets etc., for terror activities,
- Eliminate the use of Illegal Channels, Cash Couriers, Hawala by Terror Networks
- Prevent the use of Non-Profit Organisation, NPOs Sector to Spread Terror Ideology
- Continuous capacity building of counter-terror and financial intelligence agencies of all countries.
Shah said that across all stages of terror financing, such as fund-raising, fund movement, layering through other crimes, and finally, usage for terrorist activities, have to be cracked down at each stage and each stage requires a “specific but collective approach” on a global scale.
Union Home Minister said that all countries must implement the standards, and recommendations set by the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, not just on paper, but in spirit. He said that to combat the financing of terrorism, our approach must be based on five pillars:
- 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 organized economic crimes,
- Strengthening and harmonizing 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.
Shah said that to stop the borderless finance movement that supports terrorism, we also have to accept the approach of ‘Beyond-Border Cooperation’, among us, only then this platform will be successful.
Union Home Minister reiterated India’s commitment against terrorism and terror financing. He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is committed to work with all countries to combat terror financing in all its forms, such as money laundering, misuse of digital financial platforms, hawala, etc. He said that 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.
Shah said that in order to take this thought forward, the Chair Statement includes the offers to establish a Permanent Secretariat in the country and shortly, India will circulate a discussion paper to all Participating Jurisdictions for their valuable comments.