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Re-energizing Counter Terrorism Agenda

  • 17 Dec 2022
  • 8 min read

This editorial is based on “Countering terror: On action against groups targeting civilians ” which was published in The Hindu on 17/12/2022. It talks about the Terrorism in India and measures that can be taken to eliminate it.

For Prelims: Terrorism, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, National Investigation Agency, National Security Guard (NSG), United Nations Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC), End-to-end encryption, Virtual private network (VPN), lone wolf attack, Bioterrorism, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

For Mains: Current Framework for Combacting Terrorism in India, Challenges Related to Terrorism, Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).

Terrorism in all its manifestations are unacceptable and never be justified. Today all States in every region are vulnerable to terrorism and this menace has become a global concern. India since its independence has been facing the problem of insurgency and terrorism in different parts of the country.

The terrorist groups have been resorting to varied terrorist activities adopting improved and sophisticated technologies which make their activities more gruesome. In the light of this, India should evolve equally improved strategies to combat and counter frontier- terrorism in consonance with global counter terrorism strategy.

What is the Current Framework for Combating Terrorism in India?

  • India recently hosted a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC), with theme of ‘Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes’ and No Money For Terror.
  • The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act , 1967 was amended in August 2019 to allow for the designation of individuals as terrorists.
  • In 2016, India and the United States signed an arrangement to exchange terrorism screening information, and continues to work on implementation.
  • At the central government level, the National Investigation Agency is the lead law enforcement investigative agency to combact terrorism.
  • India’s state governments continue to be responsible for law and order. India’s state-level law enforcement agencies play a significant role in detecting, deterring, and preventing acts of terrorism.
    • State antiterrorism squads were created after 2008 for rapid first response.

What are the Challenges in Combating Terrorism?

  • Terror Financing: According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, criminals are estimated to launder up to four trillion dollars a year. Fund movements by terrorists have also been concealed through charities and alternative remittance methods.
    • It taints the international financial system and erodes public trust in the integrity of the system.
    • Several states are also accused of sponsoring terrorist organizations and contributing to the global threat of terrorism.
    • Furthermore, the lack of regulation of crypto currency could make it a breeding ground for terrorists.
  • Politicisation of Countering Terrorism: The members of the United Nations Security Council (P5) have exercised the veto power to varying degrees when it comes to identifying terrorists.
    • Also, absence of universally accepted definitions for what constitutes terrorism provides terrorists with an edge and allows some countries to remain silent and veto any action at global institutions.
  • Use of Emerging Technology by Terrorists: Innovations in computing and telecommunications like widespread internet access, end-to-end encryption, and virtual private network (VPN) have made new types of operations possible for a higher number of radicalized individuals across the globe, contributing to the threat.
  • Social Networking of Terrorism: Social media platforms have turned into potent instruments in the "toolkit" of terror networks and their "ideological fellow-travellers".
    • Also, "lone wolf" attackers have significantly enhanced their capabilities by gaining access to new technologies.
  • Bio-Terrorism: While biotechnology is beneficial to mankind, it can also pose a significant threat since small amounts of biotic agents can be easily hidden, transported, and released into susceptible areas.
    • Tropical agricultural pathogens or pests can also be used as anticrop agents to hamper food security worldwide.

What Should be the Way Forward?

  • Re-energizing Counter Terrorism Agenda: It is necessary to re-energize the global agenda of counter-terrorism by emphasizing the need for unity, and checking the veto power of P5 when it comes to identifying terrorists worldwide.
  • Adopting a Universal Definition of Terrorism: A universal definition of terrorism is needed so that all members of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) can incorporate it into their own criminal laws, banning terror groups, prosecuting terrorists under special laws, and making cross-border terrorism an extraditable offense worldwide.
  • Preventing Youth From Terrorism: Educational establishments play a significant role in promoting nonviolence, peaceful coexistence, and tolerance.
    • Also, undertaking policies to tackle economic and social inequalities will help in deterring disgruntled youth from being lured towards terrorism.
  • Enhancing Capacity of NIA: The Indian military should be specially trained to combat cross-border terrorism, ensuring co-ordination among intelligence and security agencies to prevent infiltration.
  • Curbing Terror Funding: There is a need for stronger laws that require banks to perform due diligence on clients and to report suspicious transactions to prevent terrorism.
    • Also, India can move towards regulating cryptocurrency.

Drishti Mains Question

Discuss the current framework for combating terrorism in India. Also, suggest how Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) can help in addressing issues related to terrorism.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

Q. Hand-in-Hand 2007’ a joint anti-terrorism military training was held by the officers of the Indian Army and officers of Army of which one of the following countries? (2008)

(a) China
(b) Japan
(c) Russia 
(d) USA

Ans: (a)


Mains

Q. The scourge of terrorism is a grave challenge to national security. What solutions do you suggest to curb this growing menace? What are the major sources of terrorist funding? (2017)

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