‘Terror haven’ countries should face strict economic crackdown: Amit Shah
New Delhi: In a veiled attack on Pakistan, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said strict economic crackdown should be launched against “terror haven” countries whose governments have made terrorism their state policy.
Addressing the closing session of the 3rd ‘No Money For Terror’ conference here, he also highlighted six priority issues, including eliminating the use of illegal channels, cash couriers and ‘hawala’ by terror networks.
“Some countries, their governments, and their agencies have made ‘terrorism’ their state policy. In these terror havens, it is necessary to shackle their unrestrained activities along with a strict economic crackdown. All the countries of the world will have to make up their minds on this, rising above their geo-political interests,” Shah said at the conference being attended by 450 delegates from over 75 nations and international organisations.
He said it is being observed that some countries repeatedly support terrorists and those who harbour terrorism. “I believe that terrorism has no international boundaries, so all countries should think beyond politics and cooperate with each other,” he said.
At the same time, Shah said, all countries will have to agree on one common definition of ‘terrorism’ and ‘terror financing’ as it is an issue of the protection of the citizens, and their human and democratic rights and it should not become a political issue.
“Terrorists understand information technology and cyberspace very well. They also understand the sensitivity of the public and tend to exploit them. Cyberspace today has become a major battleground in the fight against terrorism,” he said.
The home minister said considering the quantum and challenges, the agencies and authorities working in the areas of counter-terror and terror financing, have to adopt a long-term strategy.
He also drew the attention of the delegates towards six priority issues. They are preventing diversion from legal financial instruments by fighting anonymity in financial networks, restricting the use of proceeds of other crimes for terrorist activities, preventing use of new financial technologies, virtual assets like crypto-currencies, wallets etc., for terror activities, eliminating the use of illegal channels, cash couriers, ‘hawala’ by terror networks, prevention of the use of non-profit organisation, NPOs sector to spread terror ideology and continuous capacity building of counter-terror and financial intelligence agencies of all countries.
Shah said across all stages of terror financing, such as fund-raising, fund movement, layering through other crimes, and finally, usage for terrorist activities, have to be cracked down at each stage. Each stage requires a “specific but collective approach” on a global scale.
All countries must implement the standards, and recommendations set by the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, not just on paper, but in spirit, he said.
The home minister said every country will have to identify and act against organisations pushing youths towards radicalisation and take stringent action against them.
“The strategy of ‘Trace, Target, and Terminate’ to be adopted from low-level economic offenses to more organised economic crimes, he said.
Describing terrorism as the biggest enemy of democracy, human rights, economic progress and world peace, he said terrorism cannot be allowed to succeed, reminding everyone that it has taken such a formidable form that its effects are visible at every level.
“No country or organisation can successfully combat terrorism, alone. The international community must continue to fight shoulder-to-shoulder against this increasingly complex and borderless threat,” he said.
Shah said nations cannot think of a fear-free society, a fear-free world without an effective, long-term, concerted fight against all forms of terrorism.
“The citizens of our nations have entrusted a bigger responsibility of their protection to the leadership, and it is our duty to live up to this responsibility,” he said.
He said that over the past two decades, the United Nations Security Council has developed a framework to deal with this threat, with the main objective of creating a “counter-terrorism sanctions regime”.
Shah said this system established by the United Nations has successfully curbed to some extent, the actions of countries that make terrorism a state-funded enterprise, but it has to be further strengthened, made more rigorous, and transparent.
The home minister said the first commitment should be the cooperation with transparency and all countries and organisations must pledge complete transparency in sharing intelligence in a better and more effective manner.
He said that everyone should fight this war against terrorism and terrorist groups, in every geographical space, in every virtual space.
Shah said there have been many instances when, under the guise of other motives, some organisations promote terrorism and radicalisation at the national and international levels.
He noted that it has also been found that these organisations tend to become the medium of financing terrorism. Recently, the government of India has banned an organisation that conspired to radicalise the youth and push them towards terrorism and that every country should identify and take stringent action against such organisations, referring to action taken against Popular Front of India (PFI).