From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Bodies and forums associated with Counter terrorism
Mains level : Terrorism and challenges . International cooperation on counter terrorism, India's Role
- India’s decision to host the special session of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee (UNSCCTC) last month held in Mumbai and New Delhi, it focused on new and emerging technologies is one of a number of events planned by the Government to give its counterterror diplomacy a greater push.
What is Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC)?
- The CTC is a subsidiary body of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
- The 15-member CTC was established at the same time to monitor the implementation of the resolution.
- In the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, the UNSC unanimously adopted resolution 1373. This among its provisions obliges all States
Read this Key important note: The Delhi Declaration on Terrorism
- On day 2 of the Special Meeting, the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) unanimously adopted the Delhi Declaration on countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.
- Among the listed items in the Declaration include the decision to continue to work on recommendations on the three themes of the Special meeting and the intention to develop a set of non-binding guiding principles to assist Member States to counter the threat posed by the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.
- The declaration aims to cover the main concerns surrounding the abuse of drones, social media platforms, and crowdfunding, and create guidelines that will help to tackle the growing issue.
- Narrow Global War on Terrorism (GWOT): The first challenge is that the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), as it was conceived by a post 9/11 United States is over with the last chapter written last year, as the United States negotiated with the Taliban, and then withdrew from Afghanistan.
- Non-cooperation with India by USA and world: GWOT itself was built on an unequal campaign when India had asked for similar help to deal with the IC814 hijacking (December 1999) less than two years prior to the 9/11 attacks (with evidence now clear that those who the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was forced to release were all terrorists who went on to help with planning, funding or providing safe havens to the al-Qaida leadership), its pleas fell on deaf ears in the U.S., the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and of course, Pakistan, all of whom were hit by the same terrorists in later years.
- USA and China Escorting the Pakistan: Even after GWOT was launched, 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.
- FATF is becoming toothless: The maximum India received in terms of global cooperation was actually from economic strictures that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s grey list placed on Pakistan — Pakistan was cleared from this in October indicating that the global appetite to punish Pakistan for terrorism has petered out.
- Realpolitik over Global problem: In addition, the 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”.
- Ineffective UNSC resolutions: The hard reality for India is that the future of counterterrorism cooperation is going to be less cooperative, and counterterror regimes such as the UNSC Resolutions 1267, 1373, etc. rendered outdated and toothless.
How polarized world pose a challenge for fight against terrorism and the questions raised?
- Distraction due to Russia-Ukraine war: War not only shifting the focus from terrorism but is also blurring the lines on what constitutes terrorism. The CTC meeting in Delhi, for example, was disrupted over Russia’s claims that the U.K. helped Ukraine launch drone attacks on Russia’s naval fleet in Sevastopol. The question remains: if drone attacks by Yemeni Houthis on the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure were condemned as terrorist attacks, why was the line drawn for drone attacks on Russian ships in a port used for loading grain, or a bridge bombing that put so many civilian lives at risk?
- Likely recruitment of Afghan soldiers in Ukraine war: On the other hand, Russia squares up the possible recruitment of the former Afghan republic’s National Army Commando Corps into its war in Ukraine, Would not these commandos who once fought Taliban terrorists, now qualify as terrorists themselves?
- Divided UN security council: Away from the battle field, the polarisation has rendered the body tasked with global peace, paralysed, as the UNSC is unable to pass any meaningful resolutions that are not vetoed by Russia or western members, and China has been able to block as many as five terror designations requested by India and the U.S. Perhaps the biggest opportunity lost due to the UNSC’s other preoccupations has been the need to move forward on India’s proposal, of 1996, of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
- Convention on International Terrorism is not accepted: While each conference, including the CTC meeting in Delhi, makes passing the CCIT a goal, very little progress has been made on the actual issues such as the definition of terrorism, concerns over human rights law conflicts, and the old debate on ‘freedom fighter vs terrorist’. Despite several changes in the draft made by India in 2016, consensus for the convention is still elusive
What are New and emerging technology in terrorism?
- Drone attacks: Emerging technologies and the weaponization of a number of different mechanisms for terrorism purposes. Drones are already being used to deliver funds, drugs, weapons, ammunition and even improvised explosive devices.
- Possible bio-war: After the COVID19 pandemic, worries have grown about the use of biowarfare, and Gain of Function (GoF) research to mutate viruses and vectors which could be released into targeted populations.
- AI and robotic soldiers: In a future that is already here, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems and robotic soldiers makes it even easier to perpetrate mass attacks while maintaining anonymity.
- Cryptocurrency and terror Financing: Terror financing uses bitcoins and cryptocurrency, and terror communications use social media, the dark web and even gaming centres.
India’s opportunity to build global consensus
- India is on forefront since long: India has been at the forefront for a call of global action against terrorism which is increasingly becoming a global phenomenon.
- India will host No money for terror conference: New Delhi will host the third edition of the “No Money for Terror” (NMFT) conference that will look at tackling future modes of terror financing.
- Using Global Counter Terrorism Architecture: In December, when India takes over the United Nations Security Council Presidency for the last time before its two-year term in the Council ends, India will chair a special briefing on the “Global Counter Terrorism Architecture”, looking at the challenges ahead.
- With Taliban taking over Afghanistan, USA and west have practically withdrawn from global fight against terrorism. India’s efforts for global consensus on cross border terrorism is getting harder as world is polarizing. Fight against terrorism will be very arduous task for diplomacy of India.
There is no consensus on global definition of terrorism, discuss. How Indian diplomacy is trying to get global attention and consensus for fight against terrorism?