On the occasion of the Amrit Mahotsav of India’s Independence, it gives me immense pleasure to address the concluding session of the 3rd Ministerial Conference on “No Money for Terror” being held in New Delhi.
First of all, I would like to thank the delegations from different countries and multilateral organizations from all over the world for their participation.
During these two days, the delegates discussed Emerging Trends in terror financing, misuse of New Emerging Financial Technologies, and international cooperation in the field of terror financing to effectively achieve our objective of ‘No Money for Terror’. It will also help to mould this discussion into strategic thinking in the days to come.
This is a unique forum for participating countries and organizations to discuss the effectiveness of the current international regime of combating the Financing of Terror, and to discuss solutions to emerging challenges.
Terrorism, today, has taken such a formidable form, that its effects are visible at every level.
I strongly believe that,
“Terrorism is the biggest enemy of democracy, human rights, economic progress, and world peace, which we cannot allow to succeed”
No country or organization can successfully combat terrorism, alone! The international community must continue to fight shoulder-to-shoulder against this increasingly complex and borderless threat.
In the last few decades, India has successfully tackled many challenges, including terrorism. With India’s policy of Zero Tolerance against Terrorism, a strong framework of counter-terror laws, and empowerment of agencies, India has seen a significant reduction in incidences of terrorism and has succeeded in ensuring strict punishment in the cases of terrorism.
Forensic science is being promoted with the aim of equipping the investigation with science and technology. In this direction, with the vision of Prime Minister Modi, the world’s first National Forensic Science University has been established.
The Government of India has also decided to develop national and global databases on crimes such as terrorism, narcotics, and economic offenses.
In order to combat cybercrime in a comprehensive manner, the Government of India has established the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Center. I would like to reiterate Prime Minister Modi’s resolve that India will be the focal point of international cooperation for “Counter-Terrorism (CT) and Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT)”.
We cannot think of a fear-free society, a fear-free world without an effective, long-term, concerted fight against all forms of terrorism. The citizens of our nations have entrusted a bigger responsibility of their protection to the leadership. And it is our duty to live up to this responsibility.
Over the past two decades, the United Nations Security Council has developed a framework to deal with this threat, with the main objective of creating a “counter-terrorism sanctions regime”. This system established by the United Nations has successfully curbed to some extent, the actions of countries that make terrorism a state-funded enterprise. But it has to be further strengthened, made more rigorous, and transparent.
Our first commitment should be cooperation with transparency. All countries, all organizations, must pledge complete transparency in sharing intelligence in a better and more effective manner.
We have to fight this war against terrorism and terrorist groups, in every geographical space, in every virtual space.
There have been many instances when, under the guise of other motives, some organizations promote terrorism and radicalization at the national and international levels. It has also been found that these organizations tend to become the medium of financing terrorism. Recently, the Government of India has banned an organization that conspired to radicalize the youth and push them towards terrorism. I believe that every country should identify and take stringent action against such organisations.
Some countries, their governments, and their agencies have made ‘Terrorism’ their State Policy. In these Terror havens, it is necessary to shackle their unrestrained activities along witha strict economic crackdown. All the countries of the world will have to make up their minds on this, rising above their geo-political interests.
We observe that some countries repeatedly support terrorists and those who harbour terrorism. I believe that terrorism has no international boundaries, so all countries should think beyond politics and cooperate with each other.
At the same time, all countries will have to agree on one common the definition of ‘terrorism’ and ‘terror financing’. It is an issue of the protection of our citizens, and their human and democratic rights, it should not become a political issue!
Terrorists understand information technology and cyberspace very well. They also understand the sensitivity of the public and tend to exploit them. Cyberspace today has become a major battleground in the fight against terrorism.
There have also been multiple changes in Weapons Technology too. These 21st-century lethal technologies and drone technologies are also accessible to terrorists now.
The growing links of terrorism with organized crimes such as narcotics, crypto-currency, and hawala, have increased the possibility of terror financing manifold. The primary goal of this conference is to identify various channels and ideate a practical and workable roadmap against terror financing, identifying its various channels.
According to an estimate by the IMF and the World Bank, criminals around the world launder around 2 to 4 trillion dollars every year. And a major part of it goes to fuel terrorism.
Considering the quantum and challenges, the agencies and authorities working in the areas of counter-terror and terror financing, have to adopt a long-term strategy.
In this perspective, today I would like to draw the attention of this august gathering towards some priority issues,
- Preventing diversion from legal financial instruments by fighting anonymity in financial networks,
- Restricting the use of proceeds of other crimes for terrorist activities,
- Preventing use of new financial technologies, virtual assets like crypto-currencies, wallets etc., for terror activities,
- Eliminate the use of Illegal Channels, Cash Couriers, Hawala by Terror Networks
- Prevent the use of Non-Profit Organisation, NPOs Sector to Spread Terror Ideology
- Continuous capacity building of counter-terror and financial intelligence agencies of all countries.
Across all stages of terror financing, such as fund-raising, fund movement, layering through other crimes, and finally, usage for terrorist activities, have to be cracked down at each stage. Each stage requires a “specific but collective approach” on a global scale.
All countries must implement the standards, and recommendations set by the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, not just on paper, but in spirit.
I believe that to combat the financing of terrorism, our approach must be based on five pillars:
- The first pillar is to establish a comprehensive monitoring framework involving cooperation, coordination, and collaboration among all intelligence and investigative agencies.
- The second pillar, the strategy of “Trace, Target, and Terminate”, to be adopted from low-level economic offenses to more organized economic crimes,
- The third pillar, strengthening and harmonizing the legal structures related to terror finance,
- The fourth pillar, developing a robust mechanism against the misuse of Next Generation Technology, and
- The fifth pillar, strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for asset recovery.
To stop the borderless finance movement that supports terrorism, we also have to accept the approach of ‘Beyond-Border Cooperation’, among us, only then this platform will be successful.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate my commitment on behalf of India, against terrorism and terror financing. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji, India is committed to work with all countries to combat terror financing in all its forms, such as money laundering, misuse of digital financial platforms, hawala, etc.
During the deliberations, India has sensed the need for permanency of this unique initiative of NMFT, in order to sustain the continued global focus on countering the financing of terrorism. Time is ripe for a permanent Secretariat to be established.
In order to take this thought forward, the Chair Statement includes the offers to establish a Permanent Secretariat in the country. Shortly, India will circulate a discussion paper to all Participating Jurisdictions for their valuable comments.
A Chair’s Statement will shortly be issued to all participating jurisdictions.On behalf of the host nation, I would like to thank the delegations of all countries and organizations for participating in this ‘No Money for Terror’ conference in New Delhi. As I conclude my speech, I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe journey home.
NW / AY / AK / AS