Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Conviction of Hafiz SaeedPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FATF

Mains level : Terror funding

The Lashkar-e-Taiba founder (LeT) and Jamat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed was convicted by a Pakistan court in two terror-financing cases and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison concurrently.

Why such move?

  • With pressure from the international community building up, Pakistan has been trying to convince the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to prevent it getting blacklisted.
  • Saeed’s conviction is perhaps a reflection of Pakistan’s changing approach towards its treatment of terror groups, given the FATF’s actions and warnings.

Who is Hafiz Saeed?

  • Hafiz Saeed is the founder and leader of the fundamentalist terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is a group that follows an extreme interpretation of religious texts.
  • It was founded in 1990 and its goals include conducting jihad, preaching the true religion and training the new generation along true religious lines.
  • Some of its goals are aligned with that of Pakistan, including the liberation of Kashmir from India.

Why his conviction matters?

  • Saeed is also the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
  • Other attacks that LeT has been involved in include the 2001 shootout at Parliament House in New Delhi, and, most recently, the 2016 attack on the military headquarters in Uri.
  • In 2012, in order to support India in its attempt to extradite Saeed, the US State Department offered a bounty of up to $10 million for information that could lead to his arrest or conviction.
  • Moreover, the US Department of the Treasury has marked Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist since 2012.
  • ISI and the Pakistani government too help the LeT bring in funds, and it is believed to have fund-raising offices in Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and the Gulf region.

A shield against FATF actions

  • The FATF placed Pakistan in the grey list in July 2018 nonetheless.
  • Before Saeed’s arrest, the FATF had warned Pakistan to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing. Pakistan feared being a part of FATF’s “Grey List”.
  • Significantly, if Pakistan did not follow up on FATF’s warnings, it could potentially be downgraded to the Black List, which would make things more difficult for the country.
  • FATF is de facto run by the US Treasury Department.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)Priority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FATF

Mains level : Terror funding

The global terror financing watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has asked Pakistan 150 more questions on the action it has taken against madrassas run as being undoubtedly the dreamland for major terror outfits of the world.

Pakistan and FATF

  • The FATF has kept Pakistan on the Grey List until February 2020.
  • In October, it had warned that Pakistan would be put on the Black List if it did not comply with the remaining 22 points in a list of 27 questions.
  • Pakistan is required to show effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all UN designated terrorists like Hafiz Saeed, JeM founder Masood Azhar etc.

What is the FATF?

  • FATF is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.
  • The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.
  • It holds three Plenary meetings in the course of each of its 12-month rotating presidencies.

Why is Pakistan under its scanner?

  • Pakistan has been under the FATF’s scanner since June 2018, when it was put on the Grey List for terror financing and money laundering risks.
  • FATF and its partners such as the Asia Pacific Group (APG) are reviewing Pakistan’s processes, systems, and weaknesses on the basis of a standard matrix for anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime.
  • In June 2018, Pakistan gave a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its AML/CFT regime, and to address its strategic counter-terrorism financing-related deficiencies.
  • Pakistan and the FATF then agreed on the monitoring of 27 indicators under a 10-point action plan, with specific deadlines.
  • The understanding was that the successful implementation of the action plan, and its physical verification by the APG, would lead the FATF to move Pakistan out of the Grey List.
  • However, Islamabad managed to satisfy the global watchdog over just five of them.

And what will happen now?

  • As of now, Pakistan must respond by January 8, 2020. And at the next FATF meeting in Beijing, Pakistan will have an opportunity to defend the points in the report.
  • Pakistan will likely ask for another relaxation of the deadline, probably up to June 2020, pleading that the February deadline is too tight for it to ensure compliance with the remaining 22 action plans.
  • If Pakistan is actually moved out of the Grey List, it will be placed on the Black List with Iran and North Korea.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Gujarat terror lawStates in News


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Definition of "Terrorist Act"

Mains level : Curbing terror related activities in India

The Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Act which received President’s this month comes into effect on December 1.

An edge over MCOCA

  • The anti-terrorism law, which three Presidents had returned to the state, draws heavily from The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999, with two significant differences t.
  • The checks on interception of communication that are part of the Maharashtra law are missing in the Gujarat law; and the definition of “terrorist act” in the GCTOCA also covers “intention to disturb public order”.
  • These differences make the Gujarat law tougher and broader in scope than MCOCA.

Interception in MCOCA

  • Five MCOCA sections (13, 14, 15, 16, and 27) deal with the interception of communication.
  • The law states that the interception, if approved by the competent authority, cannot be for more than 60 days and that an extension would require permission.
  • The application for extension must include a statement of the results of the interception thus far, or a reasonable explanation for the failure to obtain results.
  • Extension, if granted, cannot be for more than 60 days.
  • The law provides for a panel to review the orders of the competent authority, and stipulates a prison term of up to a year for unauthorized interception or violation of the rules of interception.
  • The analysis of the utility of the interceptions must be submitted to the Maharashtra Assembly within three months of the end of the calendar year.

Who can intercept the calls?

  • A police officer of the rank of SP or above is required to supervise the investigation and to submit the application seeking authorisation for the interception of electronic or oral communication.
  • The law specifies various details that the application must mention.
  • Interception is allowed only if the investigating agency states that other modes of intelligence gathering have been tried, and have failed.
  • The competent authority shall be an officer of the state Home department, not below the rank of Secretary to the government.
  • In urgent cases, an officer of the rank of Additional DGP or above can authorise interception, but an application must be made to the competent authority within 48 hours of the ADGP’s order.

How is GCTOCA more powerful?

  • The Gujarat law deals only with the admissibility of evidence collected through interception, and do not mention the procedure for intercepting communication.
  • Its section 14 mirrors a corresponding section of MCOCA, and adds: “Notwithstanding anything contained in CrPC, 1973 or in any other law for the time being in force, the evidence collected shall be admissible as evidence against accused in the court during trial of case.”
  • “Any other law” is not defined.
  • GCTOCA also has no provision similar to the annual report mandated in the MCOCA.

Definition of ‘terrorist act’

  • The Gujarat law’s definition of a “terrorist act” is similar to the one in the repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), 2002, but includes “an act committed with the intention to disturb public order”.
  • A prosecutor in Gujarat said that the widening of the definition “allows, say, the Patidar agitation to be described as an act of terrorism, allowing stricter punishment”.
  • This prosecutor underlined that The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, India’s main central anti-terror law, “does not allow an agitation of such form or scale (to be called) ‘terrorism’, and is instead covered under IPC sections, (and) the law of sedition, (which) is not effective enough for stringent punishment”.
  • The Gujarat law defines a terrorist act as “an act committed with the intention to disturb public order or threaten the unity, integrity and security of the State or to strike terror in the minds of the people or any section of the people”

Argument for Gujarat law

  • The government could, while framing the Rules, introduce the checks and balances that are absent in the Gujarat terror law.
  • In case this is not done, there is also the provision where the court can ask the state government to frame Rules to this effect.
  • The constitutional validity of the law can be challenged on a “case-specific” basis.
  • With respect to GCTOC, there is a competing interest of law and order versus privacy. However, only time will tell how communication interception is used, and is interpreted.”
  • The definition of “terrorist act” was “very wide” — however, there were mechanisms built into the law to limit it.
  • The first check is the registration of FIR that can be done by an officer of rank SP or above. Ordinarily, if the power to register FIR is given to a sub-inspector- or inspector-level officer, it can be misused.
  • Secondly, assuming that the FIR is registered with a political motive, there is the provision that after submission of chargesheet, sanction from the state government is required before the court takes cognizance.
  • While the GCTOC Act does grant power to the executive with respect to the investigation process, there were similar provisions under previous laws TADA and POTA, both now repealed.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Operation Kayla Mueller (Barisha Raid)Prelims Only


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Operation Kayla Mueller (Barisha Raid)

Mains level : Counter terrorsism measures

Operation Kayla Mueller

  • The stealth operation that claimed the life of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named after 26-year-old Kayla Mueller.
  • She was an American who was kidnapped and killed by the extremist group in 2015.
  • According to U.S. officials, including President Trump, Baghdadi killed himself when he detonated a suicide belt.

Who was Baghdadi?

  • Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (1971 – 2019) was the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) militant terrorist organisation.
  • In 2014, the ISIS announced the establishment of a worldwide caliphate.
  • Al-Baghdadi was named its caliph, to be known as “Caliph Ibrahim”.
  • He was designated by the United States Department of State as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

[op-ed snap] The screws tightenIOCRop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FATF

Mains level : Terror funding


  • Pakistan escaped for the moment from the black list of the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that acts against terror financing in the world.

Implications of the event

  • It reinforces Delhi’s critics, who believe Pakistan can’t be “isolated” even if its army brazenly violates its international legal commitments on fighting terrorism.
  • Criticism arises from the fact that the government had mounted a sustained campaign in the last few years to apply the existing international norms against money laundering and terror financing on Pakistan.

FATF listing

  • It puts countries on notice and seeks time-bound compliance with a range of FATF benchmarks.
  • If countries fail to comply, they get on to a blacklist that calls on nations to take additional measures against financial transactions involving Pakistan’s jurisdiction.
  • At the moment, only two countries are on the blacklist — Iran and North Korea.

Pakistan and FATF

  • Pakistan was first put on the grey list in 2012 but got off it in 2015 when the FATF and its procedures caught India’s serious political interest.
  • The intense Indian effort resulted in Pakistan being put on the grey list again in 2018.
  • FATF acknowledged that Pakistan is in full compliance with only five of the 27 benchmarks Islamabad had to address.
  • The FATF has issued a stern warning to Pakistan that it could get to the black list if there was no progress by February 2020.

Limitations of FATF

  • There is no guarantee that Pakistan will pay the price four months down the road.
  • FATF is a multilateral mechanism where bilateral political considerations do impact on the outcomes. Pakistan can thank China, Turkey and Malaysia, whose support helped it escape the black list.
  • There is nothing to suggest that the Pakistan policies of the three countries might change any time soon.


  • India’s effort has generated international pressure on Pakistan Army’s support to cross-border terrorism.
  • Sustaining the international mobilisation also turns harsh light on China who talks about opposing terrorism and improving ties with India but refuses to walk the talk.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Media coverage of terrorismPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Regulating role of social media against organized terrorism

  • In a conference of chiefs of Anti-Terrorism Squads, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval referred to former UK PM Margaret Thatcher on her remarks on role of media against terrorism.

Role of media in combating terrorism

  • Media is a very important organ to fight terrorism.
  • As Margaret Thatcher said, if terrorists take action and the media is quiet, the terrorism will end.
  • Terrorists terrorize people. If media does not write, nobody would come to know.

The context

  • In June 1985, militants affiliated with Hezbollah hijacked Trans World Airlines flight 847, taking more than 150 passengers hostage.
  • A US Navy diver was killed, and the hostages were released in batches in a prisoner exchange with Israel.
  • The hijacking got huge media coverage across the world.
  • On 15 July 1985, Thatcher spoke about the hijacking where she said that we must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.

What Margaret Thatcher said

  • In our societies we do not believe in constraining the media, still less in censorship.
  • The media should agree among themselves a voluntary code of conduct, a code under which they would not say or show anything which could assist the terrorists’ morale or their cause.
  • For newspapers and television, acts of terrorism inevitably make good copy and compelling viewing.
  • The hijacker and the terrorist thrive on publicity: without it, their activities and their influence are sharply curtailed.
  • There is a fearful progression, which the terrorists exploit to the full.
  • They see how acts of violence and horror dominate the newspaper columns and television screens of the free world.
  • They see how that coverage creates a natural wave of sympathy for the victims and pressure to end their plight no matter what the consequence. And the terrorists exploit it.
  • Violence and atrocity command attention. We must not play into their hands.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Explained: Central Adverse ListExplained


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the List

Mains level : Mechanisms to curb anti-state activities

  • The Centre has removed from its blacklist — or the Central Adverse List as it is officially known — names of few foreign nationals involved in anti-India activities.

The Central Adverse List

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs maintains a list of individuals who supported the Khalistan movement in 1980s and 90s but left India to take asylum in foreign countries.
  • Many of the listed fled India to escape the authorities, acquired foreign nationality and took asylum outside India.
  • This list included the name of “hardliners” who were in favour of a separate state and had opposed the Operation Blue Star. However the list is not restricted to Punjab or the Khalistan movement.
  • The list has names of those individuals who are suspected to have links with terrorist outfits or have violated visa norms in their previous visit to India.
  • The list also includes the names of those persons who have indulged in criminal activities or have been accused of sexual crimes against children in their respective countries.

Purpose of the list

  • This list is constantly used by all Indian Missions and Consulates to stop the individuals named in it from entering India.
  • This is done by not granting visa to such persons. It is a step taken by the Indian government to maintain internal security.
  • The list is also used to keep serious offenders outside India as somebody may commit a crime in his native nation and then apply for an Indian visa to escape prosecution.

Who maintains this list?

  • The list is maintained by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs with inputs from all the state governments. Various intelligence agencies constantly review this list and add new names to it.
  • Central intelligence agencies as well as the state-level intelligence contribute to the information determining the inclusion of a person in this list.
  • Since law and order is a state subject, the state police is also utilized for intelligence gathering in order to update the list.

What does the recent action mean?

  • The 312 names of particular religious community members whose have been removed can now visit India and meet their families here.
  • Most of these nationals have remained outside country since the 1980s and have not visited their families since then. Majority of these people are aged.
  • With this decision of the government, they will now get access to consular services as well as an Indian visa.
  • This list had a multiplier effect in denying visas as the family members of the persons on this list were also denied visas to other countries. Such a practice will no longer be carried forward.

Was there any judicial judgement on this list?

  • There was no direct judicial pronouncement on this list but the Punjab and Haryana High Court on May 29, 2001 had directed the GOI to issue a passport to a Khalistan supporter.
  • According to the HC it was a violation of fundamental rights to deny him entry into India.
  • This gains significance as the government will finally allow entry of persons excluded from that list.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

UN PeacekeepingIOCR


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UN Peacekeeping

Mains level : Importance of the UN Peacekeeping

  • India has told the UN Security Council that peacekeeping currently is in a “no-man’s land” and called for next generation of reforms in peacekeeping based on incentivisation, innovation and institutionalization.

UN Peacekeeping

  • Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace.
  • It is distinguished from peacebuilding, peacemaking, and peace enforcement although the UN does acknowledge that all activities are “mutually reinforcing” and that overlap between them is frequent in practice.
  • Peacekeepers monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas and assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements they may have signed.
  • UN peacekeepers often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.

Need for reforms

  • UN peacekeeping is a unique innovation of multilateralism to respond to threats to international peace and security.
  • However, at the current stage, peacekeeping is in a “no-man’s land, between trying to keep the peace in fragile environments and trying to enforce the maintenance of peace, where there is none to keep.
  • Responses to new security environments require a willingness to adapt abilities to meet emerging realities.

Need of hour: Institutionalization

  • The institutionalization of an approach where all key actors, especially Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), are associated in a consistent and predictable manner in the decision-making matrix has been now discussed for decades.
  • However, in practice, there is not effective improvement of the cooperation between TCCs, the Security Council and the Secretariat.
  • It necessary to move from pursuit of activism of individual member states to collective action by this Council to institutionalize this effort.

Incentivizing women

  • India also called for further incentivising women peacekeepers.
  • As of July 31, women peacekeepers constituted 6 per cent. There are 5,243 female peacekeepers, out of a total of 86,687 peacekeepers.
  • In 26 years, member countries have increased the share of women by 5 per cent. At this rate, it may not be possible to meet even minimum targets.
  • There need to be special incentives for women peacekeepers and priority deployment of all women- unit pledges. Otherwise, the targets will remain just targets.


  • Innovation in capacity building of peacekeepers needs to be a priority, if nations are to move away from a culture of caveats that bedevils peacekeeping into a segmented activity.
  • Innovative options such as co-deployment of peacekeepers from different countries engenders a genuine spirit of partnership for peace and needs to be promoted.
  • Further, there is need for expansion of online initiatives to develop capacities of future commanders and managers so that they lead by example and raise awareness of UN standards.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

[pib] Declaration of certain individuals as terrorists under new UAPAPIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UAPA

Mains level : Impact of the proposed amendments

  • Invoking the recent amendments in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Central Government has decided to declare the following individuals as terrorists and add their names to Schedule 4 of the Act:
  1. Maulana Masood Azhar : chief, founder and key leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad
  2. Hafiz Muhammad: chief, founder and key leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamat-ud-Dawa
  3. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi: chief operation commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba and one of its founder members
  4. Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar: runs an international underworld crime syndicate and is involved in perpetrating acts of terror

Additional Information

  • All of the above are involved in terrorist attacks in India, and have been designated as global terrorists under United Nations.
  • Earlier when terrorist organizations were banned, the individuals associated with it simply changed names and continued to carry out terrorist activities.


Explained: Amendments to the UAPA

Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Explained: Amendments to the UAPAExplained


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UAPA Act

Mains level : Curbing terror related activities in India


  • The Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment (UAPA) Bill is an anti-terror legislation that seeks to designate an individual as a “terrorist”.
  • Both houses of the parliament cleared the changes to the existing law.
  • However Opposition parties and civil liberties lawyers have criticised the Bill, arguing it could be used to target dissent against the government, and infringe on citizens’ civil rights.

Who is a “terrorist” in the UAPA Bill?

  • The words “terror” or “terrorist” are not defined in the UAPA Bill.
  • Section 15 of the UAPA defines a “terrorist act” as any act committed with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country.
  • The original Act dealt with “unlawful” acts related to secession; anti-terror provisions were introduced in 2004.

Designating a terrorist

  • The Bill seeks to empower the central government to designate an individual a “terrorist” if they are found committing, preparing for, promoting, or involved in an act of terror.
  • A similar provision already exists in Part 4 and 6 of the legislation for organisations that can be designated as a “terrorist organisation”.

How individuals are declared terrorists?

  • The central government may designate an individual as a terrorist through a notification in the official gazette, and add his name to the schedule supplemented to the UAPA Bill.
  • The government is not required to give an individual an opportunity to be heard before such a designation.
  • At present, in line with the legal presumption of an individual being innocent until proven guilty, an individual who is convicted in a terror case is legally referred to as a terrorist.
  • While those suspected of being involved in terrorist activities are referred to as terror accused.
  • The new Bill does not clarify the standard of proof required to establish that an individual is involved or is likely to be involved in terrorist activities.

What happens when an individual is declared a terrorist?

  • The designation of an individual as a global terrorist by the United Nations is associated with sanctions including travel bans, freezing of assets and an embargo against procuring arms.
  • The UAPA Bill, however, does not provide any such detail.
  • The Bill also does not require the filing of cases or arresting individuals while designating them as terrorists.
  • According to MHA officials, the consequences will be prescribed in the Rules supplemented to the law once the amendment Bill is passed.

Removing the terrorist tag

  • The Bill also seeks to give the central government the power to remove a name from the schedule when an individual makes an application.
  • The procedure for such an application and the process of decision-making will also be decided by the central government.
  • If an application filed by an individual declared a terrorist is rejected by the government, the Bill gives him the right to seek a review within one month after the application is rejected.
  • Under the Bill, the central government will set up the review committee consisting of a chairperson (a retired or sitting judge of a High Court) and three other members.
  • The review committee will be empowered to order the government to delete the name of the individual from the schedule that lists “terrorists”, if it considers the order to be flawed.
  • Apart from these two avenues, the individual can also move the courts challenging the government’s order.

What are the other major changes proposed in the UAPA Bill?

  • The existing UAPA law requires an investigating officer to take prior permission of the Director General of Police of a state for conducting raids, and seizing properties that are suspected to be linked to terrorist activities.
  • The amendment Bill, however, removes this requirement if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
  • The investigating officer, under the Bill, only requires sanction from the Director General of NIA.
  • Central agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are required to obtain prior permission from the state government since law and order is a state subject under the Constitution.
  • The existing UAPA law specifies that only officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police of the NIA shall have the power to investigate offences under the UAPA law.
  • The Bill seeks to allow NIA officers of Inspector rank to carry out investigations.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

US Ban on Baloch Liberation ArmyPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Read the attached story


  • The U.S. on July 2 designated the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) as a terror organisation.
  • The BLA, the armed wing of the Baloch movement, has carried out several violent attacks in Pakistan.
  • It has about 6,000 cadres spread across the Balochistan Province and in the bordering areas of Afghanistan.

The Baloch Freedom Movement

  • The BLA is an armed separatist group that targets security forces and civilians, mainly in ethnic Baloch areas of Pakistan against the state atrocity.
  • In the seven decades of the Baloch movement, the BLA has survived the longest.
  • It is borne out of the tradition of armed militants who were earlier indirectly supported by the Marri, Bugti, Mengal and other clans or sardars.
  • The Baloch movement was influenced by the Soviet Union and radical Marxist ideology in the past and some of their leaders were trained by Moscow.
  • The BLA continues to draw from the same revolutionary spirit but has added that to the younger generation of fighters.

Why is ban imposed?

  • The BLA has often been accused of launching attacks on Pakistan’s military targets and on Chinese-built infrastructure.
  • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is also passing through Balochistan.
  • In 2017, a group of labourers were targeted by Baloch militants. The attack that led to at least 15 deaths was widely condemned as it targeted labourers.

The ideology

  • BLA rebels claim that Pakistan has been exploiting the resources of the Province without giving the due share to the locals and the indigenous Baloch tribes.
  • In recent years, the BLA has emerged as a movement with a network of supporters in both urban and rural areas of Balochistan, and has created a space for itself away from the traditional hold of the sardars of tribes.
  • BLA rebels have claimed that they are aiming for both freedom from Pakistan and internal reform of the Baloch society.
  • They are opposed to the traditional sardar or Kawailey system at home.

Reason behind popularity

  • As a result of its non-traditional approach, BLA has become more popular among young and educated Balochis.
  • The Free Balochistan Movement and the Baloch Republican Party are led by scions of the Marri and Bugti clans.
  • Both the Marris and the Bugtis have suffered in the hands of the Pakistan military but do not espouse a direct military confrontation with the Pakistani state.
  • Observers say that the BLA has jolted not just the grip of Pakistan over Balochistan but also undermined the hold of the traditional tribal chiefs over the Baloch society.

India’s ties with Baloch rebels

  • It is established that BLA commanders, in the past, had sought medical treatment in India’s hospitals, often under disguise or with fake identity.
  • In one such case, a militant commander in charge of Khuzdar city was based in Delhi for at least six months in 2017 when he underwent extensive treatment for kidney-related ailments.
  • Pakistan has blamed India for supporting the Baloch rebels as many secessionist leaders in exile are trying to seek political asylum in India.
  • It is known that the Baloch sardars like the late Akbar Bugti and Ghaus Bukhsh Bizenjo maintained warm personal ties with various Indian political figures.
  • However, visits by militants are often under assumed identities unlike those by prominent well known leaders.

Implications of the ban

  • Pakistan is expected to make it difficult for commanders and module chiefs of the BLA to travel in the region.
  • The fighters are also likely to find fund-raising more difficult.
  • Baloch rebels, however, have indicated that they are planning to intensify the struggle against Pakistan as they remain “the most popular” militant organisation in Balochistan despite Pakistan military’s crackdown.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)IOCR


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FATF

Mains level : Global AML/CTF measures

  • Recently, Saudi Arabia has become the first Arab country to be granted full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
  • Saudi had received an invitation from the FATF at the beginning of 2015 to join as an “observer member”.

FATF: Often in news

  • There is absolute possibility that Pakistan could be on its blacklist by its next plenary summit.
  • India had been pushing for Pakistan to get on the FATF blacklist for its failure to take “credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable measures” against terrorist activities.
  • Getting on the FATF blacklist, which currently only has Iran and North Korea on it, could severely cripple and isolate a country financially, resulting in a downgraded credit rating and denying it loans and development assistance.

Implications for Pakistan

  • Any conditionality associated with Pakistan’s loan from the IMF would not automatically have a connection to the FATF outcomes, although the IMF could choose to link the two.
  • IMF is an observer organisation to the FATF and so have complete visibility into everything that occurs within the task force, including a very detailed understanding of what the Pakistani incompetence.
  • The decision to condition fund disbursement under an IMF programme based on structural benchmarks that might be associated with the FATF is purely an IMF decision.


Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

  • FATF is an inter-governmental body established by G7 in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdiction.
  • The objectives of the FATF 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 has developed a series of Recommendations that are recognised as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.
  • The FATF’s decision-making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year.

The Blacklist and Grey list

  • FATF maintains two different lists of countries: those that have deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and combating terror finance regimes.
  • But these countries could commit to an action plan to address these loopholes, and those that do not end up doing enough.
  • The country who commits and addresses the concerns is put into grey list otherwise blacklisted.
  • Once a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced due diligence and counter measures, increasing the cost of doing business with the country and in some cases severing it altogether.
  • As of now there are only two countries in the blacklist, Iran and North Korea — and seven on the grey list, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria and Yemen.

India and FATF

  • India became Observer at FATF in the year 2006.
  • FATF Plenary adopted the Mutual Evaluation Report on India on 24th June 2010 and on 25th June 2010 admitted India as 34th Country Member of FATF.
  • FATF membership is very important for India in its quest to become a major player in the International finance.
  • It will help India to build the capacity to fight terrorism and trace terrorist money and to successfully investigate and prosecute money laundering and terrorist financing offences.
  • India will benefit in securing a more transparent and stable financial system by ensuring that financial institutions are not vulnerable to infiltration or abuse by organized crime groups.
  • The FATF process will also help India in co-ordination of AML/CFT efforts at the international level.

With inputs from:

Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Operation Sunshine-2Prelims Only


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Op Sunshine

Mains level : Counter terrorsism measures

Operation Sunshine-2

  • In a coordinated military operation conducted by the armies of India and Myanmar on their respective sides of the border, several camps of NE-based militant groups inside Myanmar territory were destroyed.
  • Called ‘Operation Sunshine-2’, the military action that took place between May 16 and June 8, is expected to give a debilitating jolt to insurgencies in the Northeastern states.
  • At least seven to eight camps of the NSCN-K, NDFB, ULFA(I), KLO and NEFT in Myanmar’s Sagaing Region were destroyed by the Myanmar Army in mortar firing.
  • Majority of these camps were in Hokayat, and were predominantly of the Naga rebel group, NSCN-K, which had abrogated its ceasefire with the Indian government in 2015.
  • The operation included blocks by two battalions of the Indian Army — along with Special Forces, Assam Rifles and infantry Ghataks — on the Indian side of the border.
  • This was a follow-up to ‘Operation Sunshine-1’ from February 22 to 26, when the Indian Army had acted against suspected Arakanese rebel camps inside Indian Territory.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

[op-ed snap] Taking stock of Islamic State 2.0Mains Onlyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : isis

Mains level : Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka suggest challenges for indian security.


On Easter Sunday this year, April 21, Sri Lanka witnessed a series of coordinated bomb blasts, killing over 250 people. It was the heaviest toll in Sri Lanka in terms of lives lost since the civil war ended in 2009, thus ending a decade of peace.

Attack by IS

IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself was to announce subsequently that the attacks in Sri Lanka were revenge for the fall of the Syrian town of Baghuz, the last IS-ruled village overrun by Syrian forces in March this year.

Reason for South Asia As a target

  •  South Asia today is a virtual cauldron of radical Islamist extremist activity. From Afghanistan through Pakistan to the Maldives to Bangladesh, radical Islamist extremism is an ever present reality.
  • Both India and Sri Lanka, however, prefer to believe that they are shielded from such tendencies, but this needs a relook.


Radicalisation of youth

  • In the case of Sri Lanka, it is by now evident that officials had turned a blind eye to the fact that areas such as Kattankudy and its environs in the northeast have become hotbeds of Wahabi-Salafi attitudes and practices.
  • Muslim youth here have been radicalised to such an extent that it should have set alarm bells ringing.
  • The advent of the IS occurred at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, at a time when a new breed of terrorists had emerged, inspired by the Egyptian, Sayyid Qutb, and the Palestinian, Abdullah Azzam.
  • Combining this with the practical theology of Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani made for a potent mixture.
  • In addition to this, the IS introduced the concept of a new Caliphate — especially al-Baghdadi’s vision of a Caliphate based on Islamic history.
  • This further ignited the imagination of Muslim youth across the globe and became a powerful magnet to attract volunteers to their cause.

Pivotal role of the Net

  •  It retains its ability to proselytise over the Internet, making a special virtue of ‘direct-to-home’ jihad.
  • In Sri Lanka, a close knit web of family relationships has ensured secrecy and prevented leakage of information, thereby opting for methods of old-time anarchists.

 Idea as the moving force

  • The real threat that the IS, however, poses is that it is able to convince the Muslim extremist fringe that their time has come.
  •  Radicalization, in any event, has less to do with numbers than with the intensity of beliefs. The struggle is not against presumed disparities or injustices meted out to Muslim minorities.
  • Rather, it reflects the quest for a new militant Islamist identity.

Lessons for India

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) during its investigations has since come across links connecting IS units in Kerala and Tamil Nadu with the NTJ in Sri Lanka. T
  • IS 2.0 is likely to nurture two types: the less informed rabid supporters and a band of highly radical ideologues who can entice Muslim youth to their cause.
  • The path to radicalisation of both segments is through the Internet.
  • Time spent alone online listening to propaganda can produce fanaticism of the most extreme variety.
  • It could promote a binary world view of a conflict between ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’, allowing radical Islamists to set the agenda.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

UNSC designates Masood Azhar as global terroristIOCR


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNSC 1267

Mains level : Blacklisting of Azhar and its implications for India


  • Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar was listed as a designated terrorist by the UN Security Council 1267 Committee.
  • It would mean a travel ban, arms embargo and asset freeze on Azhar.
  • The listing is a victory for India in a decade-old diplomatic battle waged primarily by it and supported by its friends at the UNSC.

Paradigm shift by China

  • Since China had blocked it four times at the UNSC Resolution 1267 Sanctions committee, US felt that this would put China in an awkward position.
  • It would have to publicly defend the veto — and, in effect, a terrorist.

Image source: TOI


Speculating Chinese intentions

  • China’s decision appears to be a well-rounded exercise aimed at encouraging India to bond with Eurasia instead of the Indo-Pacific.
  • It has taken its “all weather” ally Pakistan on board before taking the decision.
  • China’s move followed Russia’s decision last month to honour Mr. Modi with ‘Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First,’ –Russia’s highest civilian award, in the midst of the election campaign.
  • Both China and Russia want New Delhi to consolidate its ties with Eurasia on Mr. Modi’s watch, rather than allow India to drift further in the direction of the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific strategy.
  • India is already a member of the Eurasia-centred Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Again a bliss for Pakistan

  • Beijing had decided to announce listing after the Belt and Road Forum (BRF), so as not to embarrass visiting Pakistan PM Imran Khan, who was guest at the conclave.
  • Pakistan may not be averse to Azhar’s designation, as it could help avoid being “blacklisted” by the FATF.
  • Otherwise it could advance Islamabad’s economic isolation.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Influence of Islamic State in IndiaMains OnlyPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Combating terrorsim


  • Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Sri Lanka that claimed 250 lives this Easter.
  • The threads of the attack are closely connected to India with one of the Lanka suicide bombers having stayed in India for a considerable time before the attack.
  • A coordinated attack of this scale so close to India’s shores has agencies worried.

What is the IS influence in India?

  • IS came on the radar of Indian intelligence agencies way back in 2013 when reports from Syria suggested that some Indians were fighting alongside the IS there.
  • It was still considered a problem of the Middle East by the agencies until in 2014, IS kidnapped 39 Indians in Iraq and executed them.
  • An IS map of the Khorasan Caliphate showed some of India’s states as its part.
  • Since then multiple Indians have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside IS and as many as 100 have been arrested by the agencies either on return from Syria or while preparing to join them.
  • Many have also been arrested for preparing to carry out an attack in India after being inspired by the IS.

India’s response

  • The Indian security establishment has approached the issue of IS influence with caution.
  • The approach is informed by the fact that despite a very large Muslim population, India has sent very few recruits to the IS.
  • It is clear that some of the youth eager to join IS are merely swayed by the IS online propaganda which has attracted a restive youth with video-game-like macabre videos.
  • That they may not be fully radicalized given their unblemished background has led agencies to take the counselling approach.
  • Only such people have been arrested who agencies believed were in the process of carrying out an attack or had made multiple attempts to go to Syria despite counselling.
  • This included Hyderabad youth Abdullah Basith who made three attempts to go to Syria and was apprehended each time. He was finally put under arrest under charges of terrorism on his third attempt.

Why is South India more vulnerable?

  • Even though it is North India which regularly sees communal clashes, it is southern states which have sent maximum recruits to IS.
  • According to agencies, almost 90% of all recruits who have gone to Syria are from the southern States.
  • A majority of those arrested by agencies while preparing to launch an attack are also from States such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
  • Most recruits from Kerala who joined the Islamic State were either working in the Gulf or had come back from there with an already developed liking for IS’s extreme ideology.
  • States such as J&K, MP and UP in North India have also seen some IS influence on the youth.

Indians dint fall prey to lures

  • It should be stated that ISIS hasn’t received support from Indian Muslims.
  • For a country with the world’s second largest Muslim population, India’s share of pro-ISIS individuals is minuscule.

The real threats to India

  • None in fact, IS has largely focused on inspiring the youth to either migrate to Syria and Iraq or carry out attacks in India with their own resources (lone wolf attacks).
  • Most of the recruiters, such as banned outfits Indian Mujahideen operative Shafi Armar, too have been Indians.
  • Many Indians haven’t even had a handler and they have merely come together on their own to allegedly carry out attacks in the name of IS.
  • Most of these groups were made to arrange for explosives and arms on their own with members contributing from their pockets.

Way Forward

  • IS, although militarily now on the backfoot, is still – as the Sri Lankan attacks show – very much alive, with branches in 18 countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, and new forays into Bangladesh.
  • In any case, thanks to Pakistan, terrorism will always remain a threat to India.
  • IS needs no specific motivation to carry out such an attack. All other religions, and all those not subscribing to IS’s perverted vision of puritanical Islamic supremacy, are enemies.
  • A secular India is anathema for IS ideologues. That we are a democracy is also a red rag because the IS believes that ‘all religions that agree with democracy have to die’.
  • Thus, what happened in neighbouring Sri Lanka must act as a wake-up call for us.

With inputs from:

Economic Times

Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT)IOCR


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CCIT

Mains level : Countering militancy and cross-border terrorism in India

  • In the wake of growing threats and acts of terrorism across the world, India and Bolivia have called for an early finalization of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).

Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism

  1. CCIT is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens.
  2. The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996.
  3. CCIT provides a legal framework which makes it binding on all signatories to deny funds and safe havens to terrorist groups.
  4. The original draft that was tabled in 1996 included following major objectives:
  • To have a universal definition of terrorism that all 193-members of the UNGA will adopt into their own criminal law
  • To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps
  • To prosecute all terrorists under special laws
  • To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence worldwide.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Government sets up group to monitor terror sympathizersPriority 1


Mains Paper 3: Security| Linkages of organized crime with terrorism

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: TMG

Mains level: Militancy and cross-border terrorism in India


  • To take action against “hard core sympathizers among government employees, including teachers, who are providing covert or overt support” to terror-related activities, the MHA has formed a Terror Monitoring Group (TMG).

Terror Monitoring Group

  • In order to ensure synergized and concerted action against terror financing and other related activities in J&K, a multi-disciplinary monitoring group comprising eight members has been constituted.
  • The TMG has to take coordinated action in all registered cases that relate to terror financing and terror-related activities and bring them to a logical conclusion.


  • The TMG will be chaired by Additional DGP, CID of J&K Police, and include Inspector General of Police of J&K and Additional Director of IB, J&K, as members.
  • It will also have representatives from the CBI, NIA, CBDT and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.

Terms of reference

  • It will identify all key persons, including leaders of the organisation(s), who are involved in supporting terrorism in any form and take concerted action against them.
  • The TMG will investigate the networks of various channels being used to fund terror and terror activities and take coordinated action to stop flow of such funds.
  • The group will meet on a weekly basis and submit action-taken report regularly to the MHA.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

J&K draft of return policy for militantsStates in News


Mains Paper 3: Security| Linkages of organized crime with terrorism

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Policy

Mains level: Militancy and cross-border terrorism in India


  • These are the key points of a new “reintegration policy” draft that is under the consideration of the government to encourage militants hailing from the state to give up arms.

Draft Reintegration Policy

  • J&K govt is considering a policy for return of youth from militancy.
  • The policy draft is presently at the pre-SAC stage.
  • It is subject to clearance by the State Home Department and the Chief Secretary.
  • The State Administrative Council (SAC) is the body governing J&K, which is under President’s rule, and is led by the Governor and includes his four advisors and a Chief Secretary.

Features of the Policy

  • The new initiative addresses the need for rehabilitation at a policy level through a two-pronged approach: reformative measures and opportunities of livelihood.
  • There is also provision for a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 for a militant who surrenders with a view to “encourage him to join the mainstream”.
  • The initiative, however, will not cover militants found to have been involved in “heinous crimes”.

Why such move?

  • The Army after the deadly Pulwama attack has made it very that anyone who picks up the gun, will be executed unless he surrenders.
  • There is a very good surrender policy being initiated by the government so that they can join the mainstream.
  • It is essential for the government to demonstrate its will to reach out to alienated youth.
  • The successful implementation of a surrender policy is of utmost importance in J&K as there are a large number of surrendered or released militants (around 25,000).
  • The successful rehabilitation of one hardcore surrendered or released militant will motivate others to follow suit.

Way Forward

  • The proposed policy is essentially a revised version of earlier initiatives but with a renewed focus on socio-economic re-integration.
  • It will be a haste to expect miracles overnight.
  • It will take a lot of effort on the part of everyone to implement it successfully, especially the civil society and political establishment have a major role in motivating and bringing them back into the mainstream.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

[op-ed snap] A peace movement is neededop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Security situation in India and how to favor Peace over War



India and Pakistan must re-imagine the border as a fold of peace instead of as a threshold of hostilities.

Changing Meaning and perception of war and peace

  • Our sense of peace is desperately in need of myths and storytellers.
  • as we watch the Pulwama event and after, we sense peace has lost autonomy as a narrative.
  • Peace has been reduced to the lull between two acts of violence, an uneasy interlude.
  • Our sense of war reads peace passively as a cessation of hostilities. Peace is more holistic and comprehensive in a way our current narratives do not capture.
  • While war is anchored on the parochialism of concepts like border, security and nation state, peace has to dig deep into the unconscious of theology, philosophy and civilisation to literally create an alternative world view. India desperately needs a peace movement.

Loss of Gandhian Legacy

  • There is an irony to the Gandhian movement in India.
  • Satyagraha as an imagination has inspired exemplars abroad, including Václav Havel, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Merton and Desmond Tutu, but it has lost its passion and vigour in India.
  • Today the Gandhian movement has died out, while Gandhians still play a role in other battles of resistance, such as the Narmada,
  • Our ashrams are no longer pilgrimages of the imagination.
  • They need to be revived to counter the think tanks of war and a middle class which craves the machismo of militarism.

The relevance of Gandhian Ideas

  • What makes the dyingness of Gandhian ideas even more poignant is that violence and war have become technologically and strategically inventive, creating an acceptable normalcy around genocidal deaths.
  • As Gandhi pointed out, to be inventive, peace has to be both cognitive and ethical. It has to go beyond moral rhetoric and create experimental possibilities of peace, and it has to transform ethics into a political act that transforms the dullness of current democracy.
  • Second, peace has to be seen as a craft, a lived world of meaning, not as a technocratic exercise.
  • For example, food has become a source of violence both as production and consumption. One has to rethink the logic of food as part of the testament of peace. The start-ups for peace have to be more imaginative than the usual start-ups of technology.

Relevance In India Pakistan Peace process

  • Civil society must take a leaf out of Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s book and create a new vision of the soldiers of peace, the Khudai Khidmatgars.
  • Imagine peace groups working on both sides of the India-Pakistan border in a dialogue of peace.
  • Today we see people on the border as vulnerable. One needs to give them some sense of agency in creating counter-currents to war. Finally, one needs civilisational ideas on war, where a dialogue of religion creates an antidote to war.

Relevance For the survival of the nation

  • Waiting for peace is almost the everyday burden of women in war zones.
  • Normalcy is such a rare phenomenon in frontier areas where war and insurgency have become endemic.
  • Recently there was a demonstration of Naga students in Delhi. The group did not ask for rights or critique the brutality of the state. All they said was that they were tired of war, tired of waiting for peace. All they wanted was peace in their lifetime, which Indian democracy is duty bound to give.

Way Forward

  • India as a civilisation, a nation state and a democracy has a major resource to fall back on in the wisdom of our cultures and civilisations.
  • It is time India goes beyond the grammar of surgical strikes and reaches for its cultures of peace, pilgrimage and understanding.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

[pib] BOLD–QIT ProjectPIB


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges & their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: BOLD-QIT  Project

Mains level: Ensuring border security


  • The MHA has inaugurated the project BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) under CIBMS (Comprehensive Integrated Border Management system) on India-Bangladesh border in Dhubri District of Assam.

Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique

  • BOLD-QIT is the project to install technical systems under the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS), which enables BSF to equip Indo-Bangla borders with different kind of sensors in unfenced riverine area of Brahmaputra and its tributaries.
  • In Jan, 2018, IT Wing of BSF undertook the project BOLD-QIT.
  • The entire span of River Brahmaputra has been covered with data network generated by Microwave communication, OFC Cables, DMR Communication, day and night surveillance Cameras and intrusion detection system.
  • These modern gadgets provide feeds to BSF Control Rooms on the Border and enable BSF Quick Reaction Teams to thwart any possibility of Illegal Cross Border Crossing/ Crimes.
  • The implementation of this project will not only help BSF to curb all type of cross border crimes but also provide respite to the troops from round the clock human surveillance.

Why this move?

  • Border Security Force is responsible for safeguarding of 4,096 Km long International Border with Bangladesh.
  • At various places, it is not possible to erect Border Fence due to the geographical barriers.
  • The 61 Km of Border area where River Brahmaputra enters into Bangladesh is consisting of vast char lands and innumerable river channels thus making border guarding in this area, a daunting task especially during rainy season.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

[op-ed snap] Controversial exit: U.S troops withdrawal from Syriaop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Implications of changes in US foreign policy on India


US exit from Syria

  1. US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull all American troops out of Syria and reduce by half the US forces in Afghanistan marks the end of a prolonged phase of American military interventions in the Middle East and South Asia
  2. This has predictably upset both the Washington establishment and America’s global allies

Reasons for exit

  1. US president claims that the physical infrastructure of the IS caliphate is destroyed and the U.S. can leave the war against the remnants of the jihadist group to the Syrian government and its main backers, Russia and Iran
  2. The caliphate is actually destroyed — the IS has lost 95% of the territory it once controlled and is now confined to narrow pockets on the Iraqi-Syrian border
  3. The U.S. would also not like to get stuck in Syria forever. It is basically Russia’s war
  4. The U.S. is already stranded in Afghanistan (for 17 years) and Iraq (over 15 years) without a way out

Geopolitics at play

  1. As America’s internal tussle on its external trajectory makes Washington an unpredictable factor in international politics, the rest of the world has no option but to factor it into their own geopolitical calculus
  2. The U.S. has only 2,000 troops in Syria
  3. They were not directly involved in the ground battle and were supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces, a rebel group led by Kurdish rebels who were in the forefront of the fight against the IS
  4. The U.S. support for the Kurdish rebels has irked Turkey, which sees them as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, the rebels on the Turkish side who have been fighting Turkish troops for decades
  5. Turkey considers the military consolidation of Kurds as a strategic threat
  6. In the past, Turkey had attacked Kurds in some pockets on the Syrian side but was prevented from launching a full-throttle attack because of the U.S. presence

Impact on India

  1. Trump’s move will undermine the war against the Islamic State, help legitimise the Syrian ruler Bashar al Assad, and boost his backers in Moscow and Tehran
  2. In Afghanistan, the decision to downsize troop presence comes at a moment when Washington has embarked on direct talks with the Taliban brokered by Pakistan
  3. If the president does not change his mind, Delhi will have to take into account the consequences for India’s western neighbourhood, especially in Afghanistan where Washington has been fighting the longest war in American history

Way forward

  1. Insofar as Delhi is concerned, it must start preparing for the inevitable geopolitical turbulence, including the resurgence of the Islamic State and the potential return of the Taliban to power in Kabul, that could follow the American retrenchment in the Middle East and Afghanistan

With inputs from the article: As US retrenches

Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorismIOCR


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact

Mains level: Anti-terror measures undertaken by UN.


  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has launched a new framework to combat the scourge of international terrorism and coordinate efforts across the peace and security, humanitarian, human rights and sustainable development sectors.


  1. Terrorist organization like Da’esh and Al Qaida continue to twist religion to serve their ends.
  2. At the same time, neo-Nazi and far right groups are also using the Internet as a platform to mobilize support across borders, exploit economic anxieties, radicalize, recruit and carry out attacks.

UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact

  1. The framework is an agreement between the UN chief, 36 organizational entities, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organisation.
  2. It aims to serve better the needs of Member States when it comes to tackling the scourge of international terrorism.
  3. Policies that limit human rights only end up alienating the very communities they aim to protect and which normally have every interest in fighting extremism.
  4. Such policies can effectively drive people into the hands of terrorists and undermine our efforts on prevention.

A new Task Force

  1. The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact Task Force will replace the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.
  2. The former was established in 2005 to strengthen UN system-wide coordination and coherence of counter-terrorism efforts.

Why such move?

  1. This year’s Global Terrorism Index was released by the Institute for Economic and Peace.
  2. It indicates that despite a 27 % fall in the number of deaths from acts of terrorism worldwide, the impact of terrorism remains widespread, with 67 countries experiencing deadly attacks.
  3. This is the second highest recorded number of countries in the past twenty years
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Mongolia launches construction of first oil refinery with India aid


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: India-Mongolia cultural ties

Mains level: India-Mongolia Bilateral Relation and its importance.


India funded oil refinery in Mongolia

  1. Mongolia launched construction of its first oil refinery
  2. It is a long-awaited project that is funded by India and designed to end the country’s dependence on Russian fuel.
  3. The oil refinery, in southern Dornogovi province, will be capable of processing 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil per year

Benefits for Mongolia

  1. Mongolia’s new refinery, planned for completion in late 2022, will meet all of the nation’s demand for gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
  2. Earlier it was solely dependent on Russia for petroleum, though it exported crude oil
  3. By establishing this strategically important oil refinery, the national economy will become independent from energy imports, and fuel and commodity prices will be stabilized
  4. The project is expected to boost Mongolia’s gross domestic product by 10 percent, it said.

Indian Credit: Slow but steady

  1. A Mongolian oil refinery has been discussed since 1997, but while several projects were approved, none have been completed.
  2. The refinery’s financing is part of a $1 billion credit line agreement between Mongolia and the Export-Import Bank of India, made during a 2015 visit by Prime Minister Modi.


India-Mongolia Bilateral relations

  1. Mongolia, a large landlocked country wedged between giants China and Russia, has a population of just 3 million. Almost half its people live as nomadic stock herders.
  2. Mongolia considers India a “third neighbor” as well as a “spiritual neighbor” (the late venerable Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk who is revered in Mongolia, was the Indian ambassador to Ulaanbaatar for 10 years).
  3. India shares historical relations with Mongolia in terms of culture from over 2700 years.
  4. Nomadic Elephant was the Counter-Terrorism joint military exercise conducted by India and Mongolia in 2016
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

India-EU meeting in May to counter online radicalisation


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: European Union, National Investigation Agency

Mains level: National and International efforts to combat terrorism

Countering online radicalization

  1. Law enforcement agencies of India and European Union (EU) members are scheduled to meet in New Delhi in May to discuss ways of countering online radicalization
  2. India and the EU block would also be expanding the ambit of cooperation in tackling terrorists and terror groups

Need for this meeting

  1. Both India and EU are facing major challenges because of the online reach of radical organizations
  2. The objective of the meeting would be to draw a roadmap for neutralizing the impact of extremism
  3. The NIA (National Investigation Agency) would be in charge of the counter-radicalization meeting

Coopearting in curbing terrorism

  1. India and EU are also cooperating on ways to combat terrorism
  2. This includes listing area-specific and global terrorist groups and sharing with each other


European Union (EU)

  1. The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe
  2. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union in 1993 and introduced European citizenship
  3. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardized system of laws that apply in all member states
  4. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development
  5. Within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished
  6. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), established, respectively, by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

[op-ed snap] New dynamic in the north westop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FATF, TAPI project

Mains level: India’s rising stature at international fora


Changing conditions in north-west

  1. Two developments last week pointed to the new directions in which the north-western Subcontinent could evolve
  2. One is the fresh international agreement to put Pakistan on notice with regard to financing terror groups
  3. The other is the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the trans-border natural gas pipeline in Afghanistan

FATF decision

  1. The decisions of the United Nations Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are about using the threat of economic punishment to move Pakistan away from funding terrorists operating against Afghanistan and India

Importance of this decision

  1. Decision to put Pakistan on grey list is important as this was taken defying the conventional wisdom
  2. It has been widely held that the US can never really nudge Pakistan away from using terror to dominate Afghanistan and destabilize India
  3. Why: The Pakistan army was too nuclear to displease and too important a regional partner for America to alienate
  4. Trump surprised the world by announcing a major cut in military assistance to Pakistan in January this year
  5. Trump has gone a step further — to mobilize the international community to squeeze Pakistan’s terror strategy by choking its finances

No support from China either

  1. The general consensus is that Pakistan has immunity thanks to its all-weather partnership with China
  2. Pakistan was confident that China will not let India and the West hang it out to dry on the question of terror finance
  3. China supported the decision to put Pakistan on a grey list
  4. China’s move followed a deal with India and the US that would let Beijing gain a larger role at the FATF in the future

Regional Economic Cooperation

  1. Pakistan has generally resisted all economic cooperation with India, either bilaterally or regionally
  2. But through the last decade and more, Pakistan has sat down with its two neighbors and Turkmenistan to advance the TAPI project
  3. Even the Taliban has apparently promised not to attack the TAPI pipeline that it described as a “national project”

Way forward

  1. The new dynamic in the region offers two important guidelines for Indian policy
  2. First, the past is not necessarily a guide to the future. After all, structural changes over time are inevitable
  3. Second, India has the resources and agency to alter the strategic condition of its north-west
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Pakistan on watchlist for terror financing


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Financial Action Task Force, ICRG on terror financing, UN Security Council

Mains level: Terror financing by Pakistan and global opposition against it

Pakistan back on the “grey list”

  1. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary has decided to put Pakistan back on the “grey list”
  2. This subjects it to direct monitoring and intense scrutiny by the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) on terror financing
  3. Pakistan had been on the same list from 2012 to 2015

Effect of this decision

  1. The move could see Pakistan face financial strictures, and ratings downgrades by international banking and credit rating agencies until Islamabad carries out a full crackdown on terror groups
  2. Pakistan will now be required to furnish a fresh report to the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG), under a “Compliance Document”
  3. Accordingly, the country will undergo a review at the next Plenary in June, when it would be presented a full action plan on how it is expected to crack down on terror groups banned by the UN Security Council

International pressure to eliminate terrorism

  1. The move was pushed by four nominating countries, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and France
  2. They had written to the FATF stating that even though Pakistan had an anti-money laundering/anti-terror funding regime in place, effectiveness of the implementation was inadequate


Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

  1. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member Jurisdictions
  2. The objectives of the FATF 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
  3. The FATF is, therefore, a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas
  4. The FATF has developed a series of Recommendations that are recognized as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
  5. The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally
  6. The FATF’s decision-making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

US, Russia back India in bid to stop terror funding by Pakistan


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

Mains level: Pakistan support to terrorist groups and India’s efforts at exposing Pakistan

Highlighting Pakistan’s role in abetment of terrorism

  1. India’s attempts at highlighting Pakistan’s role in abetment of terrorism and financing of terrorist organizations globally is meeting with success
  2. Countries like the US and Russia are backing New Delhi’s attempts to pressure Islamabad to stem the flow of funds to banned individuals and entities at forums like the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
  3. India has kept up its efforts to highlight Pakistan’s links with anti-India terrorist groups and abetment of terrorism at various multilateral forums including the United Nations general assembly as well as during bilateral interactions

Pakistan warned

  1. The government said American and Russian support had ensured that the FATF, in its meeting in November in Argentina, called on Pakistan to report on the action it was taking to curb terror funding
  2. FATF has warned Pakistan it could be put on a watch list if failed to crack down on the financing of terrorism


Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

  1. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member Jurisdictions
  2. The FATF currently comprises 35 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organizations (GCC and European Commission), representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe
  3. The objectives of the FATF 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
  4. The FATF is, therefore, a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas
  5. The FATF’s decision-making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year
  6. The FATF has developed a series of Recommendations that are recognized as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

IS recruits were educated, employed

  1. Source: A new World Bank study ‘Economic and Social Inclusion to Prevent Violent Extremism’
  2. Aim: To identify socio-economic traits that might explain why some are drawn to the IS
  3. Educated terrorists: Recruits into the Islamic State (IS) group are better educated than their average countryman, contrary to popular belief
  4. Out of 331 recruits described in a leaked IS database, only 17% did not finish high school, while a quarter had university-level educations
  5. Moreover, those offering to become suicide bombers ranked on average in the more educated group,
  6. Poverty not a driver: Poverty and deprivation were not at the root of support for the group
  7. Unemployment not an issue: Most of the 331 recruits also reported having a job before travelling to join the IS
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

India calls Security Council unresponsive, ineffective

  1. India: ‘The 15-nation Security Council, the principal organ tasked with the maintenance of peace and security, has in a variety of ways become unresponsive to the needs of our time and ineffective to meeting the challenges it is confronted with’
  2. Why? For being indecisive on sanctioning leaders of organisations that it had designated as terrorist entities
  3. The issue cropped up after China extended its ‘technical hold’ on India’s bid for a U.N. ban on JeM chief Masood Azhar
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

One jawan killed in attack on Army camp near J&K’s Baramulla

  1. Militants mounted a suicide attack on an Army camp outside Baramulla town late on Sunday night
  2. This comes in less than a week after the Indian Special Forces smashed seven terror launch pads during a surgical strike across the Line of Control (LoC)
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Surgical strikes on terror hubs necessary

  1. Afghanistan: Supported India’s strikes in self-defence to neutralise terrorists inside Pakistan
  2. Terrorism will threaten us all if we do not combat it
  3. Therefore we feel that the time has come for tough action against terrorists
  4. There will be risk and cost involved in such measures but we have to undertake them because the time has come for us to combat this force
  5. If terror groups continue violence, then the actions taken [by India] will continue
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Who is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar?

  1. A controversial figure from the insurgency against the Soviets in the 1980s and the civil wars of the 1990s
  2. Designated a global terrorist by the United States, which has been leading an international military mission in Afghanistan for the past 15 years
  3. He served as prime minister in the 1990s, before the rise to power of the Taliban
  4. Has long been known as close to Pakistan
  5. His faction of Hezb-i-Islami has played a relatively small role in the current conflict, in which the Taliban have a leading role in battling the Western-backed government in Kabul
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Ghani formalises peace deal with ‘Butcher of Kabul’

  1. What? Afghan President formalized a controversial accord with one of Afghanistan’s most notorious warlords
  2. Why? Govt hopes it will lead to more peace agreements
  3. Impact: The pact opens the door to the militant faction of Hezb-i-Islami, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, playing an active role in politics
  4. Criticism: Human rights groups as well as many Afghans expressed dismay that Hekmatyar is unlikely to face any punishment for his alleged role in past abuses
  5. These include firing rockets into civilian areas during a civil war in an attack that killed and injured thousands of residents
  6. Future? Peace talks with the Taliban, the largest insurgent group, have yet to get off the ground, but both sides have said they are open to the idea
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

India carries out surgical strikes against terror ‘launch pads’

  1. News: India has carried out surgical strikes targeting “launch pads” for terrorists across the Line of Control (LoC)
  2. Information that terrorists planning to attack some towns and important places prompted Army to act
  3. Context: The attack comes in the wake of the September 18 terror strike in Uri that claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers
  4. India tried to solve the situation from the Uri attack at the diplomatic level but did not receive an adequate response

Discuss: Remember that we did a similar strike on the Myanmar border a few months ago? Always try to relate events together and recall similar instances. 

Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Uri accused were trained at PoK camp

  1. Source: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into Uri attack
  2. The two Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) residents facilitated the entry of four Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists to the Army camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir
  3. The two accused, both residents of Muzaffarabad, had received training from Jaish cadres at a camp in Pir Chanasai in PoK
  4. They disclosed that they were tasked by JeM commanders to facilitate infiltration by a group of four JeM cadres, who carried out the Uri attack
  5. On being shown the photos of the four slain terrorists, the accused Faisal Hussain Awan identified one of them as Hafeez Ahmed
  6. They also confessed to have facilitated the movement of other terrorists in the area
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Terror-sponsor Pakistan backs LeT, JeM: U.S. Bill

  1. Context: The terrorist attack on an Army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act of 2016: It calls on the U.S. administration to provide a report on whether or not Pakistan qualifies as such under various U.S. laws
  3. Underlines multiple facts that the members think make Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism
  4. Lists Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) involvement in supporting terrorism in Afghanistan
  5. Department of State’s 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism: ‘Pakistan has not taken sufficient action against groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which continued to cooperate, train, organise, and fundraise in Pakistan
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Fifteen years of the war on terror- II

  1. The war on terror initially focused on the al-Qaeda, and the Taliban that had sheltered bin laden in Afghanistan
  2. It has evolved into a long-drawn-out conflict with multiple battlefields, many allies and myriad enemies
  3. Fifteen years later, its initial enemies are but shadows of themselves
  4. However, new enemies such as the Islamic State (IS) were spawned
  5. The 15 years also saw the rise of the home-grown terrorist, the biggest worry for security establishments
  6. It has been exacerbated by technology, which has helped terror organisations break down physical barriers such as borders by taking their ideology online
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Fifteen years of the war on terror- I

  1. On September 11, 2001, the U.S. saw the biggest attack on its homeland ever
  2. The al-Qaeda of Osama bin Laden launched coordinated attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington
  3. 2,753 people lost their lives that day, including those on a commercial aircraft that was forced to crash in rural Pennsylvania
  4. The attacks gave birth to the U.S.’ war on terror
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

India plans anti-terror drive at NAM- II

  1. Background: The run-up to the UNGA session has been tense after the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed deep concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir after Pakistan reached out to the OIC over the issue
  2. UN focus on terror: Given the number of terror attacks globally, terrorism has moved up UN’s agenda and many states are restless and desire UN to take a more active role
  3. Kashmir not involved: India’s strategy for the CCIT is independent of its strategy to counter Pakistan on Kashmir as it is a bilateral issue
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

India plans anti-terror drive at NAM- I

  1. News: India is planning a major diplomatic outreach ahead of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in order to push through the ‘Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism’ (CCIT)
  2. CCIT: Addresses, among other things, the issue of Pakistan’s alleged support for cross-border terrorism in south Asia
  3. Will be launched during the September 13-18 Non Aligned Movement summit in Venezuela
  4. UNGA focus: Global mood on the CCIT will be tested in NAM summit in Venezuela, which is just prior to United Nations General Assembly [UNGA]
  5. And, following India’s interactions at the NAM, the tactics for the CCIT will be fine tuned for UNGA
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

U.S.’ security assistance to Pakistan falls by 73% since 2011

  1. Reason: Deterioration in ties following the killing of Osama bin Laden in a Navy SEALs raid on his Abbottabad hideout and a U.S. airstrike on a Pakistani border post in Salala that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers
  2. Context: The report prepared for the U.S. Congress by the Congressional Research Service (CRS)
  3. There is also a 53% decrease in economic assistance since 2011
  4. Earlier this month, the Pentagon decided not to pay $300 million in military reimbursements to Islamabad
  5. Reason: Pak’s alleged reluctance to act against the Haqqani network
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

IS may have set up sleeper cells in India

  1. News: The Islamic State may have set up sleeper cells in India, according to the new Iraqi Ambassador to India
  2. Reason: Influence of foreign-funded Islamic seminaries and preachers who teach an exclusivist version of Islam
  3. The Ambassador told that India should watch the Islamic seminaries and preachers more closely to understand the kind of Islam being preached
  4. Islamic seminaries and televangelists are powerful tools in the war that the IS is waging and therefore countries should exercise more control on these sections
  5. Sleeper cells: Underground groups of trained terrorists who wait to stage attacks and are ready to act at their leaders’ command
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

India to push for global terror convention

  1. News: India has revised its proposal for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) to be passed during the upcoming UN General Assembly
  2. Context: The range of global terror attacks recently – in Paris, Brussels, Orlando and Dhaka – warrant terror to be at the top of the UN’s agenda
  3. Background: The original draft was proposed by India 20 years ago but was opposed by the US, the Organisation of Islamic Countries and Latin America
  4. India has been able to complete a draft which effectively counters the opposition from the 3 main blocs that have raised objections
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

US will not abandon Afghanistan

  1. Context: Statement by US’ Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) at Atlantic Council
  2. The assassination of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in a drone strike last month did not indicate a change in the U.S strategy of supporting negotiations with the outfit
  3. US would be cautious about troops reductions in Afghanistan, even as the Obama administration is rethinking its earlier plan for troop reduction from 9800 to 5500 by the end of the year
  4. US would be committing three billion dollars annually until 2020 for the security and reconstruction of Afghanistan
  5. This support could not be indefinite, an abrupt and immediate disengagement was not an option.
  6. The NATO summit next month in Warsaw will demonstrate the commitment of the US and allies to secure Afghanistan
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Pakistan still promotes ‘good’ jihadis: NGO- II

  1. The background and aftermath of the Pathankot airbase attack in India symbolise the impunity accorded to good jihadists
  2. Initiatives: By both India and Pakistan- the unscheduled visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lahore in 2015 were meant to enhance peace process
  3. However, derailing the nascent process was likely the motive for a major attack on the Pathankot base the very next month
  4. Pak: After the Peshawar terror attack on an Army Public School in December 2014, military and civilian Pakistani establishment announced a 20-point National Action Plan for countering terrorism
  5. It included measures to prevent banned groups from operating and/or regrouping under new names, preventing terror funding, and dismantling terrorist communication networks among others
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Pakistan still promotes ‘good’ jihadis: NGO- I

  1. Context: The report ‘Pakistan’s Jihadist Heartland: Southern Punjab’ by the International Crisis Group, an NGO engaged in advocacy to prevent and resolve conflict
  2. Good v/s Bad: The case of southern Punjab (which borders India) best illustrates Islamabad’s abject failure to end the distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ jihadists
  3. Continued state sponsorship remains a source of empowerment for good jihadists, such as the Jaish, which has networks across the province
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

U.S. Congress seeks to block $450 mn Pak. aid

  1. What? The U.S. Congress has initiated a move to block $450 million in aid to Pakistan
  2. Why? For failing to demonstrate its commitment and taking action against the Haqqani terror network
  3. This is one of the provisions of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA)
  4. It doesn’t allow the U.S. government to waive the above mentioned condition in ‘national interest
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

US wants Pakistan to act against all militant groups

  1. Context: A series of U.S. cables released by the National Security Archive
  2. Link: Cables suggest strong links between the Pakistan’s ISI and the Haqqani network
  3. The ISI paid $200,000 to the Haqqani network for a suicide attack on a CIA camp in Afghanistan in 2009
  4. US has asked Pakistan to target all militant groups, including Haqqani Network, Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e Taiba
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Hidden vetoes must go, India tells UN

  1. Context: India has sought transparency in the U.N. procedures to designate a group or an individual terrorist
  2. Existing rules: Security Council members to oppose any move in the sanctions committees in a clandestine manner and without offering any explanation
  3. The sanctions committees can take decisions only unanimously, and this means any of the 15 members can veto a move
  4. Hidden veto: This amounts to allowing a ‘hidden veto’ for every member of the council
  5. Background: The demand comes days after China blocked its bid to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a terrorist
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

EU approves passenger data-sharing

  1. Context: The European Parliament voted to force airlines to share passenger information with EU countries
  2. Aim: To help detect jihadists
  3. System: Passenger Name Record (PNR)
  4. It was a five years of debate that intensified after the Paris and Brussels attacks
  5. It was passed after the privacy concerns were resolved
  6. European Commission had first proposed the law in 2011
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

PM to address World Sufi Forum

  1. News: Prime Minister Modi addresses the World Sufi Forum in New Delhi
  2. Context: Forum has been convened by the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board
  3. Objective: To discuss the role of Sufism in countering rising global terror
  4. Forum will debate long-term alternatives to counter rising issues of radicalization and use of terror in the name of religion
  5. Significance: It is expected to emphasize and reassert India’s position as one of the global centres for moderate ideology in Islam
  6. World Focus: The 4-day event is likely to be attended by over 200 delegates, including foreign delegates from 20 countries
  7. Spiritual leaders, scholars, academicians and theologists from Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, UK, USA, Canada and Pakistan, among other countries, are expected to be present
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

India moving U.N. to blacklist Masood

  1. Context: Terrorist attack on Pathankot air base
  2. News: India to approach UN to include the Pakistan-based terror mastermind Maulana Masood Azhar on the list of globally designated terrorists
  3. Nodal Agency: 1267 Sanctions Committee under UN, includes the name of terrorist and terror-organisation on the sanctions list
  4. The attempt to isolate Masood Azhar has a greater possibility to succeed at the 1267 Sanctions Committee
  5. Challenge: In Jun 2015, India moved the committee against Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi release from jail, but China did not support due to its strategic interest in Pakistan
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

IS threat: Maharashtra rolls out deradicalisation plan

The plan aims to create an environment of solidarity and trust among the minority, and envisages different departments undertaking various schemes to reach out to the minority.

  1. To face the challenges posed by various home-grown extremists and the global IS terrorists
  2. Maharashtra government has rolled out a deradicalisation programme for the minority community
  3. The plan, brought out by the State Home Department, is a 50-point socio-economic strategy with the aim of ‘bringing youth of the minority community into the mainstream’
  4. The State Education Department will launch a mid-day meal scheme in Urdu schools
  5. Also provide textbooks at subsidised rates, and teach Urdu as optional subject in 300 Marathi shalas (schools)
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

President of India inaugurates Counter-Terrorism Conference 2016

The President of India inaugurated the Counter-Terrorism Conference- 2016 at Jaipur.

  1. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that terrorism is undoubtedly the single gravest threat that humanity is facing today.
  2. It is imperative that the world acts in unison against terrorism, without political considerations.
  3. An important aspect of counter-terrorism strategy is capacity building to prevent attacks.
  4. Through intelligence collection and collation, development of technological capabilities, raising of Special Forces and enactment of special laws.
  5. The predominant focus has to be on the political management of terrorism.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

India, Arab League vow to check terror, funding sources

Minister cited “India’s model of unity in diversity” as an example for the world to counter indoctrination and radicalisation.

  1. India and the Arab world must join hands to eliminate the menace, those who silently sponsor terror groups could end up being used by them.
  2. Those who believe that silent sponsorship of such terrorist groups can bring rewards must realise that they have their own agenda.
  3. They are adept at using the benefactor more effectively than the sponsor has used them.
  4. Speaking at the first First Ministerial Meeting of the Arab-India Cooperation Forum which External Affairs Minister described as a “turning point” in India’s ties with the Arab world.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

India, France can gain by sharing strategies against terrorism

  1. India and France are carrying out Shakti 2016 in Rajasthan which reflects the common interests of two countries.
  2. It is the joint exercise which focusses on counter-terror and counter-insurgency operations.
  3. Both sides will benefit by exchanging ideas and strategies for a larger goal due to different experiences in handling terror.
  4. Greater French support for India’s decades-old anti-terror struggle would help India attain both regional as well as global targets in the fight against terrorism.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Vulnerable targetsop-ed snap

Pakistan must act strongly against all terrorists for the sake of its own younger generation.

  1. Terror attack at Bacha Khan University in Pakistan has grim echoes of the Peshawar Army Public School massacre in December 2014.
  2. Targeting schools and colleges reflect the jihadis’ opposition to education, which is a force of modernisation and empowerment.
  3. Pakistan needs to invoke Bacha Khan’s ( khan Abdul Gaffer khans’ ) legacy and reverse the Islamist course taken by its society and polity.
  4. Pakistan will have to muster the will to act against terrorists of all shades, and not choose between the “good” and the “bad” Taliban.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Ouagadougou lessonsop-ed snap

New Delhi needs to initiate a national audit of police and intelligence preparedness, based on global best-practices.

  1. The killings this weekend at the Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso’s Ouagadougou hold out important lessons to India about the threat of terror.
  2. One, the attacks show, the threat doesn’t come from any one organisation.
  3. Second,the use of conventional military force against terrorist groups doesn’t guarantee an end to terrorism.
  4. Third, the critical line of defence against terrorism is a well-trained and well-equipped domestic police force, capable of interdicting and responding to attacks, thus mitigating their impact.
  5. Most states and major cities now have élite special weapons and tactics units but their training and infrastructure are often ramshackle.
  6. Training of first responders — the constables is dismal.
  7. Deficiency in training of elite national forces, the National Security Guard was ruthlessly exposed in Pathankot,
  8. Finally, the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing remain understaffed and underfunded.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Bet on peaceop-ed snap

After Pathankot, Pakistan has taken the right first steps. India has nothing to gain from not talking.

  1. New Delhi must beware the trap of linking future diplomatic engagement with the fate of the Pathankot investigation in Pakistan.
  2. This would, for one, give forces in Pakistan’s military establishment who are hostile to normalisation a perverse incentive to derail action against their jihadist clients.
  3. Secondly, military retaliation against terrorism will impose asymmetric impacts on India’s growing economy.
  4. Finally, disengagement shuts the door on long-term gains.
  5. Even if India realises no security gains from dialogue with Pakistan, there are none to be had from not talking, either.
  6. Dialogue, though, opens up possibilities for incremental gains on business, resource management and cultural contacts.
  7. It thus strengthens those sections of Pakistani society with interests in peace, like the business community and civil society.
  8. India’s interests are best served by cold-blooded defence of its strategic interests — not the seductive heat of righteous rage.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Breaking The Terror Cycleop-ed snap

Countries have the right to self defence under international law and India can not legate the problem of terrorism to that of political management alone.

  1. Nuclear weapons have become the licence to undertake terror through its proxies.
  2. Hope that full engagement with Pakistan can withstand major terrorist attacks is misplaced.
  3. Political pressures and the need to show action inevitably lead to disruptions.
  4. The time has come to seek to break this cycle
  5. Answer to Pak sponsored attacks cannot lie in engagement, for it has not worked, and nor has its opposite.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Pakistan was under global pressure

U.S. called for swift action; China issued two statements condemning the terror strike.

  1. The Indian government had made it clear that there would be “no talks without action” from Pakistan.
  2. On the basis of evidence and leads handed over by India about the Pathankot attackers who killed 7 Indian soldiers.
  3. Ministry of External Affairs kept up the pressure by refusing to confirm or cancel the Foreign Secretary-level talks which had been informally agreed to for January 15.
  4. Security experts also warned against reading too much into the action against Jaish-e-Mohammad.
  5. The group that was set up by Masood Azhar after he was released at Kandahar by the Indian government in 1999 in exchange for hostages on board IC-814.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

U.S. for joint fight against terror

  1. The U.S. has condemned the terrorist attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot.
  2. It urged all countries in the region to work together to disrupt and dismantle in terrorist networks.
  3. US said that it has always maintained that Pakistan requires to do more to rein in terrorists who target neighbouring countries.
  4. It considers better relations between India and Pakistan good for its South Asia strategy.
  5. So, it wants like India and Pakistan to continue their dialogue.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

United Nations adopts plan to attack Islamic State’s funding

Security council unanimously backs resolution to target group’s income and block its use of global financial system.

  1. This aimed at disrupting revenues that Islamic State receives from oil and antiquities sales, ransom payments and other criminal activities.
  2. The resolution, sponsored by the US and Russia, elevates Isis to same level as al-Qaida, reflecting its growing threat and split from the terror network behind the 9/11 attacks.
  3. Isis controls a large swath of Syria and Iraq, including oil and gas fields, though bombing campaigns by the US-led coalition and ground forces have enabled Iraq to regain some territory.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Saudi Arabia announces 34-state Islamic military alliance against terrorism

A new Saudi-led Islamic alliance to fight terrorism will share information and train, equip and provide forces if necessary for the fight against Islamic State militants.

  1. Saudi Arabia announces 34 nations Islamic coalition to fight terrorism
  2. It has been established in pursuance of the objectives and principles of the charter of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
  3. It calls for all member states to cooperate to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

G20 for joint steps to fight terrorism

  1. Mr. Ban stressed that world leaders need to be robust in their response which is within the rule of law and with respect for human rights.
  2. There was a need for close cooperation within the international community to reject and fight terrorism in all its manifestation.
  3. There was a need to address the underline drivers of violent extremism.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

India for better channels with Pak. Rangers

  1. The chiefs of BSF and Pakistani Rangers will meet after the high profile NSA level talks were cancelled.
  2. India will stress on adding more layers of channel of communication with Pakistan Rangers.
  3. India will ask for frequent joint patrolling and confidence-building measures.
  4. The talks are held biannually, started in 1989, but the timings have not been followed.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

Cross-border terrorism: Jihadist-military project at workop-ed snap

  1. The recent back-to-back strikes indicate the presence of stray elements in Pakistan, who are against the Indo-Pak engagement.
  2. Though, it can be argued that Pakistan is not involved in these cases, but there is lack of systemic response from their govt.’s side.
  3. Often, Pakistan projects itself as a victim of terror in the hands of TTP and other sectarian group.
  4. But, it is also deeply involved in supporting Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, and anti-jihadist elements.
  5. There are instances of Pakistani military engaging with Jihadist elements for strategic gains.

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
0 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of