Counter-terror diplomacy

  • IASbaba
  • November 10, 2022
  • 0
International Relations
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In News: India decided to host the special session of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (UNSC-CTC) which focused on new and emerging technologies

  • India will also host the third edition of the “No Money For Terror” (NMFT) conference that will look at tackling future modes of terror financing.
  • India will chair a special briefing on the “Global Counter Terrorism Architecture” at the end of two-year term of India’s Presidency of UNSC


  • There are many examples of terrorism and their post-terror responses such as U.S.’s flattening of Afghanistan post-9/11, Pakistan’s aerial strikes on its own populations in Swat and Balochistan, India’s crossing of the UN-monitored Line of Control after the Uri attack (September 2016) and missile strikes on Pakistani territory (Balakot in 2019) after the Pulwama suicide bombing (February 2019), or Israel’s relentless bombardment of buildings in Gaza in retaliation for rocket attacks.
  • The hard reality for India is that the future of counter-terrorism cooperation is going to be less cooperative, and counter-terror regimes such as the UNSC Resolutions 1267, 1373, etc. rendered outdated and toothless.
  • Weak international reaction to the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, and its persecution of women and minorities in the country, demonstrate rising fatigue levels in dealing with “another country’s problems”.

UNSC’s role:

  • Resolution 1267 – is a global list of terrorists and was adopted in 1999.
  • China has been blocking proposals by India and the United States to designate Pakistan-based terrorists on the list.
  • Resolution 1373 – adopted in 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks to establish a dedicated Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC).
  • Counter Terrorism Committee:
  • It is a subsidiary body of the UNSC.
  • It has 15 members and aims to increase the ability of states to fight terrorism.
  • It is not a sanctions body nor does it maintain a list of terrorist groups or individuals.
  • In 2004 Resolution 1535 was adopted, creating the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) to provide the CTC with expert advice and technical assistance


  • Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) was conceived by a post-9/11 United States
  • During IC-814 hijacking in Dec 1999, India was forced to release all terrorists to the al-Qaeda leadership) and no help was received from US. However, later, US negotiated with Taliban and withdrew from Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan’s role as the U.S.’s ally, and China’s “iron friend” ensured that the UNSC designations of those who threatened India the most, including Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed, never mentioned their role in attacks in India.
  • Pakistan has recently been removed from Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s grey list.
  • Growing polarisation and inequality
  • Growing global polarisation over the Russia-Ukraine war is shifting the focus from terrorism and also blurring the lines on what constitutes terrorism.
  • The polarisation has rendered UNSC paralysed because it is unable to pass any meaningful resolutions that are not vetoed by Russia or western members
  • For example, Russia claims that the U.K. helped Ukraine launch drone attacks on Russia’s naval fleet.
  • On the other hand, drone attacks by Yemeni Houthis on the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure were condemned as terrorist attacks.
  • China has been able to block as many as five terror designations requested by India and the U.S.
  • Slow progress:
  • India’s proposal, of 1996, of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) – very little progress has been made on issues such as the definition of terrorism, concerns over human rights law conflicts, and the old debate on ‘freedom fighter vs terrorist’.
  • Emerging technologies:
  • Weaponisation of mechanisms for terrorism purposes such as drones being used to deliver funds, drugs, weapons, ammunition and even improvised explosive devices.
  • Use of biowarfare, and Gain-of-Function (GoF) research to mutate viruses which could be released into targeted populations.
  • Use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems and robotic soldiers to perpetrate mass attacks while maintaining anonymity.
  • Terror financing uses bitcoins and cryptocurrency
  • Terror communications use social media, the dark web and even gaming centres
  • State-sponsored terrorism: Pakistan, Iran and North Korea are the most obvious examples of countries where the establishment has supported terrorist groups carrying out cross-border strikes, drone attacks and cyberwarfare.
  • Next drivers of strike will be global inequity, food and energy shortages, climate change and pandemics.

Way forward:

  • Global stakeholders are at present distracted by territorial disputes and narrow political differences.
  • Unless there is global consensus on regulating the use of these emergent technologies by all responsible states, it will be hard to distinguish their use from those by designated terror entities, or state-sponsored terrorism.
  • Terrorist acts of the future will grow more and more lethal, will need fewer people to carry out, and with their sponsors having more and more anonymity.
  • India, as host of these counter-terrorism events, and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the next G-20, must stop fighting the “last war” on terrorism, and steer the global narrative towards preparing for the next ones.

Source: The Hindu


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