Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired the first session of the 3rd 'No Money for Terror' Ministerial Conference on ‘Global Trends in Terrorist Financing and Terrorism’ theme in New Delhi today. In his opening address, the Union Home Minister said that terrorism is, undoubtedly, the most serious threat to global peace and security, but, the financing of terrorism is more dangerous than terrorism itself, because the 'Means and Methods' of terrorism are nurtured from such funding. Furthermore, the financing of terrorism weakens the economy of countries of the world.
Shri Amit Shah said that India condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and we believe that no reason can justify an act, such as taking innocent lives. While expressing his sympathy for the victims of terrorist attacks all over the world, he said that we should never compromise with this evil.
Union Home Minister said that India has been a victim of terrorism for several decades, which is sponsored from across the border. He said that Indian security forces and civilians have had to deal with incidents of extremely serious terrorist violence perpetrated in a sustained and coordinated manner. Shri Shah said that the international community has a collective approach that terrorism must be condemned in all its forms, but, the forms and manifestations of terrorism are continuously evolving due to technological revolution. He said that today, terrorists and terrorist groups understand the nuances of modern weapons & information technology, and the dynamics of the cyber & financial space very well, and use them. He said that this transformation of terrorism from "Dynamite to Metaverse" and "AK-47 to Virtual Assets" is definitely a matter of concern for the countries of the world, and, we all have to work together to formulate a common strategy against it. Shri Shah added that we also recognize that the threat of terrorism cannot and should not be linked to any religion, nationality, or group.
Shri Amit Shah said that to confront terrorism, we have made significant progress in fortifying the security architecture, as well as the legal and financial systems. He stated that in spite of this, terrorists are constantly finding new ways to carry out violence, radicalize youth and raise financial resources. Shri Shah maintained that the ‘Dark Net’ is being used by terrorists to spread radical content and conceal their identities. Additionally, there is an increase in the use of virtual assets like cryptocurrency. He said that we need to understand the patterns of these Dark Net activities and find their solutions.
Union Home Minister said that unfortunately, there are countries that seek to undermine, or even hinder, our collective resolve to fight terrorism. He said that we have seen that some countries protect and shelter terrorists, protecting a terrorist is equivalent to promoting terrorism. He said that it will be our collective responsibility that such elements never succeed in their intentions. Shri Shah said that after August, 2021, the situation in South Asian region has changed and the regime change and the growing influence of Al Qaeda & ISIS have emerged as a significant challenge to regional security. He stated that these new equations have made the problem of terror financing more serious. Shri Shah said that three decades ago, the whole world has had to bear the serious consequences of one such regime change, the result of which we all have seen in the horrific attack of 9/11. He said that in this background, last year’s changes in the South Asian region are a matter of concern for all of us. He added that along with Al Qaeda, organizations in South Asia like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to spread terror.
Shri Amit Shah said that we should never ignore terrorists' safe havens or their resources. He said that we also have to expose the double-speak of such elements who sponsor and support them, and therefore, it is important that this Conference, the participating countries, and the organizations, should not take a selective, or complacent perspective of the challenges of this region.
Union Home Minister said that the problem of financing of terrorism has become widespread. He said that in the last few years, India has succeeded in cracking down on terror financing. India's strategy against the financing of terrorism is based on these six pillars:
- Strengthening the Legislative and Technological Framework
- Creation of a Comprehensive Monitoring Framework
- Actionable intelligence sharing mechanism and strengthening of the investigation and police operations
- Provision for confiscation of property
- Prevent misuse of legal entities and new technologies, and,
- Establishing international cooperation and coordination
Shri Shah said that in this direction, India has strengthened the fight against terrorism and its financing, with the amendment of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), strengthening the National Investigation Agency (NIA), and giving a new direction to financial intelligence. He stated that it is the result of our continuous efforts that terrorist incidents in India have come down drastically, which in turn, has also resulted in a drastic reduction in the economic losses caused by terrorism.
Union Home Minister said that India believes that the most effective strategy to deal with terrorism is International coordination and real-time and transparent cooperation among nations. He opined that cooperation among countries in areas such as extradition, prosecution, intelligence sharing, capacity building and “Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT)”, is important in the fight against terrorism. Shri Shah said that our mutual cooperation becomes even more important given that terrorists and terrorist groups easily coordinate and conjoin their resources across borders.
Shri Amit Shah said that the emerging trends of the illegal trade of narcotics, and the challenge of narco-terror, have given a new dimension to terror financing. He said that in view of this, there is a need for close cooperation among all nations. Shri Shah said that multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and the presence of platforms such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are most effective in terms of preventing terrorism in the field of “Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT)”. He said that FATF is playing an important role in setting and implementing global standards to prevent and combat, money laundering and terrorist financing.
Union Home Minister said that we have a new challenge in the form of Virtual Assets before us as new methods of virtual assets are being used by terrorists for financial transactions. He said that to crack down on the use of virtual asset channels, funding infrastructure and Dark Net, we need to work coherently towards developing a “robust and efficient operational system”. Shri Shah said that the United Nations, IMF, Interpol and other stakeholders such as Law enforcement agencies, financial investigators, and regulators of various countries can have a more positive impact in this regard. He said that we must understand these challenges in-depth and make efforts globally to curb the new techniques of terror financing, as was done in the recently concluded Interpol General Assembly in New Delhi.
Shri Amit Shah said that India remains committed to all efforts to combat terrorism, by sharing intelligence, capacity building for effective border control, preventing misuse of modern technologies, monitoring and preventing illicit financial flows, and cooperating in investigative and judicial processes. He said that to achieve the goal of "No Money for Terror", the global community must understand the "Mode - Medium - Method" of Terror Financing and adopt the principle of 'One Mind, One Approach' in cracking down on them.
Union Home Minister said that we have started this conference today with the address of the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and in these two days there will be a meaningful discussion on various dimensions of Terror Financing and meaningful solutions will be ideated for the present and future challenges. Shri Shah said that as the Home Minister of India, he assures the Conference that our commitment towards the objective of 'No Money for Terror' is as strong as your enthusiasm to participate in this event! Shri Shah said that it will be great to hearing from fellow panelist speakers and tomorrow, in the concluding session, Shri Amit Shah would like to put forth his views on some pertinent issues.