India takes charge of UNSC counter-terror panel

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External Affairs Minister Jaishankar says terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to operate with both impunity and encouragement and declares that that UN should never overlook their raising of resources, reports Arul Louis

India will assume a pivotal role in the global fight against terror when it takes over the chair of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) next year, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has announced.

He said that India will be taking over the leadership of the CTC from Tunisia and hopes to build on the gains from Thursday’s meeting of the Council on terrorism threats that he presided over.

Addressing reporters outside the Security Council chamber after the meeting, he said that he was happy that “a very strong, substantive, clear press statement” was adopted by the Council that addresses the key concerns of India.

“All Security Council members with one voice endorsed a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We are clear that there cannot be double standards and distinctions cannot be made,” he said.

The press statement issued by India’s Permanent Representative TS Tirumurti as the Council President for the month expressed “unwavering commitment to strengthening international cooperation to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”.

It reaffirmed “that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that all acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed”.

It also called for strong measures to prevent terrorism financing.

Getting the unambiguous statement on terrorism approved by the fractured Council was a mark of the diplomatic leadership by India.

With Thursday’s meeting, India has successfully completed the three signature initiatives of its presidency, which were focused on maritime security, technology and peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism, Jaishankar said.

He said that the meetings came up with substantive and forward-looking outcomes, including a Security Council Resolution on protecting peacekeepers which demands punishment for crimes against peacekeepers.

Asked about the cross-border terrorism plaguing India, he recalled the country’s long experience with the menace and noted that he mentioned the dangers from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

In his speech he had said that the groups “continue to operate with both impunity and encouragement” and declared that the Council should “never countenance sanctuaries for terrorists or overlook their raising of resources”.

On relations with Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power, he said that the historical relations with the people of Afghanistan will continue.

Jaishankar call out countries protecting terrorists

Jaishankar said that the global community should call out the hypocrisy of countries that protect terrorists “with innocents’ blood on their hands”.

Speaking at the Security Council on the international threat of terrorism, he drew attention to the roles of Pakistan and China in providing support to terrorist groups without mentioning the two by name.

“Unfortunately, there are also some countries who seek to undermine or subvert our collective resolve to fight terrorism. This cannot be allowed to pass.

“When we see state hospitality being extended to those with innocents blood on their hands, we should never lack the courage to call out their double-speak,” Jaishankar said.

Terrorism.

In what is seen as a reference to Beijing’s attempts to protect individuals and groups linked to Pakistan-backed LeT and JeM, he said: “Don’t place blocks and holds on listing requests without any reason.”

Reiterating his action plan against terrorism, he said the Council in tackling terrorists and terrorist groups should “enlist and delist objectively, not on political or religious considerations”.

Jaishankar warned that “in our own immediate neighbourhood, ISIL-Khorasan (ISIL-K) has become more energetic and is constantly seeking to expand its footprint. Events unfolding in Afghanistan have naturally enhanced global concerns about their implications for both regional and international security”.

He called for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism proposed by India. It has been blocked by some countries that try to defend some terrorists as “freedom-fighters”.

Jaishankar said, “Summon the political will: don’t justify terrorism, don’t glorify terrorists. No double standards. Terrorists are terrorists; distinctions are made only at our own peril.”

He said that despite the international efforts to tighten legal measures against financing terrorist organisations, they still receive money.

“The flow of funds has continued and rewards for killings are now even being paid in Bitcoins!”

Expressing his solidarity with all the victims of terrorism, Jaishankar said that while the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the US comes up next month, “the 2008 Mumbai terror attack is imprinted in our memories. The 2016 Pathankot air base attack and the 2019 suicide bombing of our policemen at Pulwama are even more recent”.

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