Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on November 18, 2022 that the threat of terrorism cannot and should not be linked to any religion, nationality, or group. He said after the regime change in South Asia in 2021 the growing influence of al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) have emerged as major security challenges.
Mr. Shah was speaking to international delegates at the third “No Money for Terror Conference.” He chaired the session on ‘Global Trends in Terrorist Financing and Terrorism’ on the fist day of the conference attended by ministers of 20 countries and representatives of 72 countries and multilateral bodies.
He said financing of terrorism is more dangerous than terrorism 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.
“India condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and we believe that no reason can justify an act, such as taking innocent lives,” the Home Minister said. Reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement earlier in the day, Mr. Shah said India has been a victim of terrorism for several decades, which is sponsored from across the border. He said that Indian security forces and civilians have had to deal with incidents of extremely serious terrorist violence perpetrated in a sustained and coordinated manner.
He 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. He said that 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 common strategy is required to fight it. He said significant progress has been made to confront terrorism by fortifying the security architecture, legal and financial systems yet, “terrorists are constantly finding new ways to carry out violence, radicalise youth and raise financial resources.” He added that the ‘Dark Net’ is being used by terrorists to spread radical content and conceal their identities. Additionally, there is an increase in the use of virtual assets like cryptocurrency.
“Unfortunately, there are countries that seek to undermine, or even hinder, our collective resolve to fight terrorism. He said that we have seen that some countries protect and shelter terrorists, protecting a terrorist is equivalent to promoting terrorism,” the minister said.
Without mentioning Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Mr. Shah said that after August, 2021, the situation in South Asian region has changed and the regime change and the growing influence of Al Qaeda and Islamic State have emerged as a significant challenge to regional security. He stated that these new equations have made the problem of terror financing more serious.
“Three decades ago, the whole world has 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. He said that in this background, last year’s changes in the South Asian region are a matter of concern for all of us. He added that along with al-Qaeda, organizations in South Asia like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to spread terror,” he added.
He said that terrorists’ safe havens or their resources should never be ignored and the double-speak of such elements who sponsor and support them should be exposed. “Therefore, it is important that this Conference, the participating countries, and the organizations, should not take a selective, or complacent perspective of the challenges of this region,” Mr. Shah said.
The Minister said that India has strengthened the fight against terrorism and its financing, with the amendment of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), strengthening the National Investigation Agency (NIA), and giving a new direction to financial intelligence. He stated that it is the result of our continuous efforts that terrorist incidents in India have come down drastically, which in turn, has also resulted in a drastic reduction in the economic losses caused by terrorism.
He added that the emerging trends of the illegal trade of narcotics, and the challenge of narco-terror, have given a new dimension to terror financing. He said that in view of this, there is a need for close cooperation among all nations. He said virtual assets are being used by terrorists for financial transactions and to crackdown on the use of virtual asset channels, funding infrastructure and Dark Net, a “robust and efficient operational system” is required.