• Sanskriti IAS - अखिल मूर्ति के निर्देशन में

India’s expanding counterterrorism engagements

  • 21st November, 2022

(MainsGS2:Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.)

Context:

  • Recently,  India hosted the Third Ministerial ‘No Money for Terror’ conference in New Delhi following two other important meetings hosted by India i.e. The United Nations (UN) Security Council’s special meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) in Mumbai and New Delhi and the 90th INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) General Assembly in New Delhi on 18-21 October.

Data from report:

  • According to the 2022 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report, deaths from terrorism fell by 1.2 percent to 7,142 deaths worldwide from the peak of 2015, yet, the number of attacks increased by 17 percent to 5,226, with South Asia recording 1,829 deaths in 2021.
  • This was primarily due to the instability in Afghanistan. In fact, the deadliest attack of 2021 was the suicide bombing attack at the Kabul International Airport in August, which killed 170 people.
  • The GTI report adds that while the COVID-19 pandemic may have limited terrorist activities, they may see recrudescence as pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed globally.

Widening threat:

  • As organised terrorist groups take a backseat, law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide now face a significant challenge of the increasingly nebulous character of the terrorist threat.
  • Radicalised individuals, also called ‘lone wolves’, ‘DIY’ or ‘freelancer’ terrorists with no formal affiliation or explicit linkage to well-established terrorist organisations, are now committing random acts of terrorist violence. 
  • In doing this, they are leveraging the power of the internet and social media to disseminate their propaganda and extremist acts.
  • In addition, terrorist and terror suspects have expanded the use of The Onion Router (TOR)-enabled darknet for propaganda, and recruitment on encrypted chat forums and platforms beyond the gaze of the security agencies.
  • Besides, other advancing and emerging technologies like autonomous systems, 3D printing and deep fake now potentially offer the terrorists prospects for weaponisation.

Countering hawala:

  • The ‘No Money for Terror’ conference provides an important platform to discuss how to tackle and counter these thriving traditional and advanced means of terrorist financing.
  • For tackling hawala, security agencies will need to focus on improving the regional and global understanding of the risks posed by hawala and its role in financing South Asian terrorist groups.
  • Moreover, since this money transfer system works on trust, security agencies will have to think “out-of-box” to counter the system and discredit it.

Tackling cryptocurrencies:

  • For cryptocurrencies, intelligence and law enforcement agencies will need to step up their response to track and monitor blockchain transactions.
  • This will need better forensics, better surveillance mechanisms, and better training to ensure that terrorists do not succeed in causing harm by leveraging emerging technologies.
  • This again requires transnational cooperation to evolve a coordinated approach by leveraging best practices and learnings from each other, including risk assessments and establishing common standards, thus, the ‘No Money for Terror’ conference offers an important forum for establishing such cooperation.

Conclusion:

  • These global meetings allow India to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation with other security and law enforcement agencies and draw attention to its initiatives, such as the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and the need to define terrorism for designing more effective counterterrorism measures.
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