Modi says cost must be imposed upon countries that support terrorism
New Delhi, November 18, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asserted that there was no place for an ambigous approach in dealing with the global threat of terrorism and said a cost must be imposed upon countries that support the evil.
"In today’s world, ideally there should be no need for anyone to remind the world of the dangers of terrorism. However, there are still certain mistaken notions about terrorism in some circles. The intensity of the reaction to different attacks cannot vary based on where it happens. All terrorist attacks deserve equal outrage and action," Modi said in his address to the third "No Money for Terror" (NMFT) Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Financing here.
"Further, sometimes, there are indirect arguments made in support of terrorism to block action against terrorists. There is no place for an ambiguous approach while dealing with a global threat. It is an attack on humanity, freedom and civilisation. It knows no boundaries. Only a uniform, unified and zero-tolerance approach can defeat terrorism," he said.
Ministers, delegates and members of investigating agencies and security forces from across the world are attending the conference.
The Prime Minister said it was significant that the conference was being held in India, a country which faced the horrors of terror long before the world took serious note of it.
"Over the decades, terrorism in different names and forms tried to hurt India. We lost thousands of precious lives, but we have fought terrorism bravely.
"The delegates have a chance to interact with a country and people who have been firm in tackling terror. We consider that even a single attack is one too many. Even a single life lost is one too many. So, we will not rest till terrorism is uprooted," he said.
Modi said the conference was dealing with a subject that impacts all of humanity.
"The long-term impact of terrorism is particularly hard on the poor and on the local economy. Be it tourism or trade, nobody likes an area that is constantly under threat. And due to this, the livelihoods of people are taken away. It is all the more important that we strike at the root of terror financing," he emphasized.
"Fighting a terrorist and fighting terrorism are two different things. A terrorist may be neutralised with weapons. Immediate tactical responses to terrorists may be an operational matter. But tactical gains will soon be lost without a larger strategy aimed at hurting their finances. A terrorist is an individual. But terrorism is about a network of individuals and organisations. Uprooting terrorism needs a larger proactive response. If we want our citizens to be safe, then we cannot wait until terror comes to our homes. We must pursue terrorists, break their support networks and hit their finances," he said.
"It is well known that terrorist organizations get money through several sources. One source is state support. Certain countries support terrorism as part of their foreign policy. They offer political, ideological and financial support to them. International organisations must not think that the absence of war means peace. Proxy wars are also dangerous and violent. There must be a cost imposed upon countries that support terrorism. Organisations and individuals that try to create sympathy for terrorists must also be isolated. There can be no ifs and buts entertained in such matters. The world needs to unite against all kinds of overt and covert backing of terror," he said.
Modi pointed out that one of the sources of terror funding is organised crime.
"Organised crime should not be seen in isolation. These gangs often have deep links with terrorist outfits. The money made in gun-running, drugs and smuggling is pumped into terrorism. These groups help with logistics and communication too. Action against organised crime is extremely important in the fight against terror. At times, even activities like money laundering and financial crimes have been known to help terror funding. Fighting it needs global collaboration," he said.
The Prime Minister noted that, in such a complex environment, the United Nations Security Council, Financial Action Task Force, Financial Intelligence Units, and the Egmont Group, are boosting cooperation in prevention, detection and prosecution of illegal fund flows. "This is helping the war against terror in many ways over the past two decades. This also helps in understanding terror funding risks," he said.
"Now, the dynamics of terrorism are changing. Rapidly advancing technology is both a challenge and a solution. New kinds of technology are being used for terror financing and recruitment. Challenges from the dark net, private currencies and more are emerging. There is a need for a uniform understanding of new finance technologies. It is also important to involve the private sector in these efforts. From a uniform understanding, a unified system of checks, balances and regulations can emerge. But we must be careful about one thing. The answer is not to demonise technology. Instead, it is to use technology to track, trace and tackle terrorism," he said.
Modi said that, today, cooperation was needed not only in the physical world but also in the virtual world too. "The infrastructure used for cyber terrorism and online radicalisation is distributed. Some also offer weapons training from a remote location and online resources. Communications, travel, logistics, there are many links of the chain in different countries. Each country can and must act against the part of the chain within their reach," he said.
"Many different nations have their own legal principles, procedures and processes. Sovereign nations have a right to their own systems. However, we must also be careful not to allow extremists to misuse differences between systems. This can be prevented through deeper coordination and understanding between governments. Joint operations, intelligence coordination and extradition help the fight against terror. It is also important that we jointly address the problem of radicalisation and extremism. Anyone who supports radicalisation should have no place in any country," he said.
The Prime Minister said that, over the last few months, many conferences have been held in India relating to different dimensions of security. India hosted the General Assembly of the Interpol in New Delhi. A special session of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee happened in Mumbai.
"At this ‘No Money For Terror’ Conference, India is helping build global momentum against terror funding. Our intention is to bring the world together in taking the war against terrorism to the next level," he added.