India to host UNSC meet on counterterrorism in October

Meeting to bring representatives from 15 countries, including China and Russia, to discuss emerging threats

Meeting to bring representatives from 15 countries, including China and Russia, to discuss emerging threats

India is the first to receive diplomats and officials from all 15 United Nations Security Council countries, including China, Russia and the United States, for a special meeting on terrorism in Delhi and Mumbai in October.

The meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), which will chair India as a member of the UN Security Council for 2022, will focus on challenges such as terrorist financing, cyber threats and the use of drones, officials said.

New Delhi is expected to highlight the cross-border threats posed by Pakistan and Afghanistan at the meeting, which will take place two months before India completes its term as elected member of the UN Security Council (2021-22).

In addition, India has urged UN members to adopt a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (first proposed in 1996), which is likely to be discussed at the meeting.

“The event will showcase India’s role as a victim of terrorism, as well as a country at the forefront of global counter-terrorism efforts,” said an official involved in the planning.

Newer Threats

Sources also said that while terrorist financing was now recognized and addressed through mechanisms such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), it was necessary to build templates and “codes of conduct” for newer threats, including cryptocurrency financing and the use of drones for terrorist attacks.

They said the CTC meeting in India could also pave the way for a possible visit to New York by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December, where India will serve as the president of the UN Security Council for the entire month.

In August 2021, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Modi had chaired a special session of the UN Security Council on virtually improving maritime security, at which several leaders and senior officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, spoke. had participated.

Officials said India’s UN mission, where Permanent Representative Ruchira Khamboj presented her credentials on Tuesday, would work to maximize participation in the event, in case the prime minister decides to travel.

An earlier plan to travel to Washington in December for the Democracy Summit, convened by US President Joe Biden, may be postponed as the summit is likely to be postponed.

Announcing the delegates’ visit, the United Nations said the October 29 special meeting was called in India in view of “the growing threat posed by the misuse of new and emerging technologies”.

“The special meeting will focus specifically on three key areas where emerging technologies are undergoing rapid development, increased use by Member States (including for security and counter-terrorism purposes) and an increasing threat of misuse for terrorism purposes, namely (a) the Internet and social media, (b) terrorist financing and (c) unmanned aerial systems,” the announcement said.

Officials told The Hindu that details of the visit were still being finalized, including whether the visiting delegates would include permanent representatives or ministers at the respective missions of the member states.

The meeting in India, normally held in New York, has been discussed and planned since early this year, sources said, as part of events marking the 75th anniversary of independence.

The alleged murder of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul in a US drone strike over the weekend “proves the continued presence of international terror groups” in the region, as detailed in the CTC’s report on the Analytical Support and Sanctions. The monitoring team presented to the UN Security Council by then-Indian UN envoy TS Tirumurti in May, officials said.

The report had pointed to Al-Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan and the freedom granted by the Taliban regime to “recruit, train, fundraise and produce video messages from Zawahiri,” and also noted the presence of anti-Indian groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed.

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