India at UN says world needs to hold terror masterminds accountable

United Nations, Feb 15 (PTI) The world needs to hold masterminds of terrorist plots accountable for their deeds and “call their bluff” and it is equally important that they are not allowed to mislead the international community by painting themselves as “victims of terrorism”, India has said at the UN, in a veiled reference to Pakistan.

The world has witnessed the horrors of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, the 2016 Pathankot terror attack and the 2019 Pulwama terrorist attack, Counsellor in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Rajesh Parihar said on Monday.

“We all know from where the perpetrators of these attacks came from, he said, delivering India’s national statement at the open briefing on the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) with the Member States of South and South-East Asia.

“It is equally important to call out the masterminds behind these terrorist plots and not let them mislead the international community by painting themselves as victims of terrorism,” the Counsellor said.

We need to call their bluff and hold them accountable for their deeds,” Parihar said.

It is regretful that the victims of these dastardly attacks are yet to get justice, and the perpetrators, facilitators and financiers of these attacks continue to walk free, still enjoying state support and hospitality, Parihar said, making a reference to Pakistan.

The Indian diplomat, voicing regret that the present reporting mechanism of the UN on terrorist threats does not treat inputs on the issue by all member states on equal footing and continues to be plagued by political biases , said that close attention must be paid to threats emerging from Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

We hope that Counter Terrorism Committee, its Executive Directorate – CTED, and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team will pay close attention to the terrorist threat emerging from al-Qaida, particularly, their affiliates, LeT and JeM as well as the atrocities of terrorist groups against religious minorities.

It is important that the UN reporting mechanism on these issues is unbiased, objective, inclusive and comprehensive, Parihar said.

Last week, India voiced its objection over failure of the UN Secretary General’s report on ISIS to take notice of the close links between proscribed terrorist entities such as LeT and JeM despite New Delhi repeatedly flagging these concerns, calling for inputs from all member states to be treated on “equal footing” in future.

Speaking in the Security Council briefing on Threat to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts’ that took up Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ 14th Report on Threat Posed by ISIL/Da’esh, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti had said last week that India had been reiterating the close links between proscribed terrorist entities under the 1267 Sanctions regime such as the LeT and other terror groups including the JeM.

However, in spite of repeatedly flagging these concerns, the SG’s report has failed to take notice of these linkages. We hope that in future iterations of such reports, inputs from all member states would be treated on an equal footing and an evidence based and credible yardstick be applied by its authors, he had said.

Parihar, in his remarks on Monday, said that from the past few years, UN member states have been ringing alarm bells about terrorists having access to modern and emerging technologies such as internet, on mobile devices, social media, encrypted messaging services and using them to spread hatred, radical propaganda, fake narratives and carry out recruitment and terror activities.

This threat has been further exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

The leaders of terrorist organisations in South Asia region continue to spread hatred against India and other countries in the region though internet platforms and social media, raise funds through fake charities, crowdfunding and by portraying themselves as humanitarian NGOs and non-profit organisations, he said.

The Indian diplomat underlined the urgent need for the UN Monitoring Team and Financial Action Task Force to focus on such non-traditional aspects of terror financing.

Parihar also voiced concern that more recently, terrorist groups have been using unmanned aerial platforms, such as drones and quadcopters for cross border trafficking of drugs and arms and for carrying out terrorist attacks.

“This cannot happen without connivance and support of the state agencies controlling the territory from where these terrorists are operating. We call upon them to cease their despicable acts. There is a need for CTED to focus on such activities as well in their reporting, he said.

Parihar said that India has taken several border security measures aimed at stemming terrorist-travel.

India has updated and modernised its immigration records and passports and implemented a tighter immigration control through centralised systems like Immigration Visa Foreigner Registration Tracking (IVFRT) to facilitate legitimate travellers and strengthen security, he said.

India has also developed necessary capabilities, legal frameworks and institutions in order to counter and suppress the threat of terror-financing.

India has been regularly conducting the National Risk Assessments to monitor the money laundering and terror-financing risks and address them.

Parihar further said that in South Asia, under the Taliban, Afghanistan once again is at the risk of becoming a safe haven for al-Qaida, ISIS and a number of other UN-designated terrorist groups, including Pakistan-based LeT and JeM.

The 2021 report of the Taliban Sanctions Committee and other reports have recognised the continuation of links between Taliban, especially through the Haqqani Network, and al-Qaida and other terrorist groups in India’s neighbourhood, Parihar said.

He told the briefing that the collective approach and expectations of the international community to the situation in Afghanistan has been outlined in UN Security Council resolution 2593, which was adopted under India’s Presidency of the UNSC in August 2021 and which unequivocally demands that Afghan territory should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts.

Parihar reiterated that terrorism is the most serious threat to mankind today and combating terrorism should be at the heart of any discussion on the global common agenda for the future.

As UNSC Resolution 1566 notes, terrorism grossly impairs the enjoyment of human rights and threatens social and economic development of all countries and regions, he said, voicing India’s full commitment to strengthen multilateral counter terrorism response under the aegis of the UN.