Necessity of Stringent measures for global security
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TOPIC: General Studies 3:
- Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
Terrorism has time and again raised its ugly head – it is a global menace that several countries are trying to deal with on a war footing. From the USA to Asia, no continent is free from the problems of terror. New Delhi has been raising the issue with other countries bilaterally and at international forums to try and tackle the problem over the years. India has had to deal with both foreign terrorists and local elements from time to time.
If there is one common agenda as far as world leaders are concerned, it is to fight terror. Thousands of lives have been lost due to terror related activities. Yet there are some nations that use it as a tool of state policy and try to further their goals. Unfortunately, we as responsible nation-states, do not even agree to a common definition of terrorism.
Tackling Terror Finance
Pakistan was placed on the FATF grey list in June, 2018 and put on notice to be blacklisted by October this year if it did not curb money laundering and terror financing. The resolution against Pakistan was moved by the US, and supported by the UK, France, Germany, and India. It said Pakistan was not doing enough to comply with anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering regulations. Pakistan was then given a 27-point action plan that was to be implemented by September this year and the same is being monitored by FATF Asia Pacific sub group.
Mechanism established internationally to curb it: The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) made nine special recommendations for CFT (first eight then a year later added a ninth). These nine recommendations have become the global standard for CFT and their effectiveness is assessed almost always in conjunction with anti-money laundering. The FATF Blacklist (the NCCT list) mechanism was used to coerce countries to bring about change.
Stringent measures by India for global security
Is our preventive machinery able to match the changing terrorist methodology? – Unfortunately, governments follow linear thinking. What appear in our discourses are lists of new special squads, better weaponry, satellite imagery, coastal radars and transponders to prevent coastal infiltration. No doubt these are relevant in certain situations but is our counter-terrorist architecture flexible enough to match or surpass the exponential thinking of terrorists?
Not having any reliable record of our overseas workers who are the source of such recruitment – The former Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), which was trying to collect such data during the UPA government’s tenure, was merged with the Ministry of External Affairs after the present NDA government took over. This was a retrograde step as a single-point high-level attention on our overseas workers that had been going on since 2004 was relegated to a minor wing of our vast diplomatic apparatus due to inter-ministerial squabbles.
Empowered Soldiers: For a country that takes pride in its modern, technologically advanced military, India still relies heavily on putting more boots on the ground and on the calibre of the soldier. It is time the Defence Ministry adopted a holistic approach, making sure that the soldier is fully backed by technology and calibrated security drills. Preventing terrorists from scoring a strike is the best defence.
Intelligence Sharing: To deal with the terror threat, there must be far greater sharing of intelligence among agencies worldwide. One of the major challenges that all intelligence agencies face is a qualitative understanding of the newer, and many post-modern threats. These newer generation threats, including those by terror groups and outfits, often lie “below the radar” or beyond the horizon. Anticipating such threats and their nature requires intelligence agencies to be constantly ahead of the curve. Anticipating newer threats is only partly facilitated by today’s technical advances such as new computing and communication technologies. However, these alone are not often enough to meet today’s intelligence needs.
Social Media and Youth: Impressionable minds are very easily lured on the World Wide Web. Terrorism has to be fought at the level of political subversion and that’s where social media plays an enormous role, both by the state and others including terrorists. So the actual fight is sometime misunderstood to be on the ground. That’s not where the fight is indeed. Fight on the ground often has a negative influence on state agencies and forces. Political subversion is the ultimate power of terrorism and that is the ultimate aim and that’s where it has to be fought and political engagement therefore is important.
Delhi Declaration of India: The Delhi Declaration of India and 10 ASEAN countries mentioned, for the first time, “cross-border movement of terrorists” and made a commitment to counter the challenge through “close cooperation”. In an endorsement of the longstanding Indian view, these leaders not only agreed on a comprehensive approach to counter “foreign terrorist fighters”, but also supported efforts to target terror groups and sanctuaries.
- The FATF was established in July 1989 by a G-7 Summit in Paris to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering. In October 2001, it expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing as well.
- The FATF’s objectives are “to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system”.
- The FATF monitors the progress of members and non-members in implementing the FATF Recommendations, “a comprehensive and consistent framework of measures which countries should implement in order to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”. It identifies jurisdictions with “weak measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CFT) in two FATF public documents that are issued three times a year”.
India is an FATF member; Pakistan is not.
Connecting the dots:
- Examine the linkages that have evolved recently between terrorism and organised crime.
- Terrorist organisations and organised crime cartels have not only appropriated each other’s methodologies but have also developed a symbiotic relationship. Do you agree? Illustrate.
- How does terrorism affect the socio-economic ecosystem of a country? Discuss.