Statement by External Affairs Minister at UNSC Briefing on ‘Threats to International Peace and Security caused by Terrorist Acts’, August 19, 2021

I thank Mr. Moradian for his briefing. I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the Minister of External Affairs of India.

Let me begin by thanking Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, USG UNOCT and Ms. Michele Coninsx, Executive Director CTED for their briefings on the 13th report of the Secretary General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security. I of course repeat my thanks to Mr. Moradian, Director General of the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies, for joining us remotely today.

Excellencies, the world will be commemorating the 4thInternational Day of Remembrance and Tribute to Victims of Terrorism day after tomorrow. Next month, it will be 20 years since the horrific 9/11 tragedy in New York. We, in India, have of course had more than our fair share of challenges and casualties. 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. Let me, therefore, express my solidarity with the victims and their families all over the world who have suffered, and continue to suffer, from the scourge of terrorism. We must never compromise with this evil.

The international community holds a collective view that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations must be condemned. There cannot be any exception or any justification for any act of terrorism, regardless of motivations behind such acts. We also recognize that the menace of terrorism cannot be and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or any ethnic group. However, in spite of the progress we have made to tighten the legal, security, financing and other frameworks to combat terrorism, terrorists are constantly finding newer ways of motivating, resourcing and executing acts of terror. Unfortunately, there are also some countries who seek to undermine or subvert our collective resolve to fight terrorism. That cannot be allowed to pass.

The latest report of the Secretary General has provided another stark reminder to all of us that ISIL (Daesh) continues to pose a critical threat to international peace and security. ISIL (Daesh) remains active in Syria and Iraq and its affiliates are growing in strength, particularly as we heard from briefers, in Africa. The financial resource mobilization of ISIL (Daesh) has become more robust. The flow of funds has continued and rewards for killings I believe are now even being paid in Bitcoins! The radicalization of vulnerable youth by systematic online propaganda campaigns remains a serious concern.

In our own immediate neighborhood, ISIL-Khorasan (ISIL-K) has become more energetic and is constantly seeking to expand its footprint. This should be taken seriously. Events unfolding in Afghanistan have naturally enhanced global concerns about their implications for both regional and international security. The heightened activities of the proscribed Haqqani Network justifies this growing anxiety. Whether it is in Afghanistan or against India, groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to operate with both impunity and encouragement. It is, therefore, vital that this Council does not take a selective, tactical or even a complacent view of the problems we face. We must never countenance sanctuaries for terrorists or overlook the raising of their resources. And when we see state hospitality being extended to those with innocents’ blood on their hands, we should never lack the courage to call out this double-speak. We heard from the briefers of the aggravating attack of the pandemic. What is true of Covid is even more true of terrorism: none of us are safe until all of us are safe.

Insofar as ISIL is concerned, its modus operandi has changed, with the core focusing on regaining ground in Syria and Iraq and affiliates functioning independently. This evolving phenomenon is extremely dangerous and poses a new set of challenges to our collective efforts in our fight against ISIL and terrorism.

In January 2021, when I had an opportunity to address this Council virtually at that time, I had proposed an eight-point action plan for consideration. Let me reiterate some its cardinal principles:

· 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,

· Don’t place blocks and holds on listing requests without any reason,

· Discourage exclusivist thinking and be on guard against new terminologies and false priorities,

· Enlist and delist objectively, not on political or religious considerations,

· Recognize the linkage to organized crime,

· Support and strengthen the FATF, and

· Provide greater funding to the UN Office of Counter Terrorism.

I call on this Council to collectively build on these principles. It is also important therefore to end the stalemate preventing the adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which India has championed for so long.

India has been at the forefront of global counter terrorism efforts, has taken part in all major global initiatives against international terrorism and is party to all United Nations’ sectoral conventions relating to terrorism. We were pleased to play our role in strengthening the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted last month. We reiterate our full support for counter terrorism cooperation under the auspices of the UN. I thank you.

I resume my functions as President of the Council. I now give the floor to the Council members.