By Amit Agnihotri
New Delhi: India has exposed Pakistan globally for hosting terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad that bear linkages with organised crime, and has urged the United Nations Security Council to hold such States accountable.
“India has been a victim of terrorism sponsored from across our border. We have experienced first-hand the cruel linkage between transnational organized crime and terrorism,” India said at a High Level Open Debate of the UN Security Council on “Addressing the Issue of Linkages between Terrorism and Organised Crime” yesterday without naming the western neighbour.
The high-level debate was organised by Indonesia. Under Secretary General UN Office of Counter Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov and Executive Director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime Ghada Fathi Waly briefed the member-states.
The Indian stance has come at a time when Pakistan has been shelling the Line of Control in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and has been pushing terrorists inside Indian territory to disturb peace in the region. Sending terrorists to India, in fact, has been a state policy of Pakistan over the past decades.
India cited the case of Pakistan-backed outlaw Dawood Ibrahim, to showcase how an organized crime syndicate, the D-Company, that used to smuggle gold and counterfeit currencies, transformed into a terrorist entity overnight, causing a series of bomb blasts in India’s financial capital, Mumbai, in 1993.
The dastardly attack had claimed more than 250 innocent lives and damaged property worth millions of dollars, India said, while pointing out that the perpetrator of the incident (Dawood) unsurprisingly, continues to enjoy patronage in a neighbouring country (Pakistan) which has become a hub for arms trafficking and narcotics trade, along with other terrorists and terrorist entities that have been proscribed by the United Nations.
India suggested several ways to curb links between terrorism and organised crime, including “a collective focus of international community on addressing threats posed by proscribed individuals and entities such as Dawood Ibrahim and his D-Company, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad” to serve humankind well.
Further, India urged the UNSC to hold States accountable for activities that support or encourage terrorism from territories under their control and urged the member-states to implement the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in strengthening the capabilities of governance structure of financial and economic assets of vulnerable countries.
Asking the UNSC for enhanced coordination with FATF, India flagged that member-states should also remain vigilant in identifying new trends in linkages between terrorist groups, terrorist individuals, and organised criminals, given the rapid development of information and communication technology as well as other technologies related to financial transactions, encryption, mode of transportation and delivery.
Groups involved in organised crime are operating like multinational companies, India noted, and said that with revenues estimated in billions of dollars, the criminal enterprises closely resemble those of legitimate international businesses.
“They have operating models, long-term strategies, hierarchies, and even strategic alliances,” India said. “These activities may include trafficking in people, drugs, illicit goods and weapons, armed robbery, counterfeiting and money laundering.”
Over the years, terrorist groups have developed a diversified funding portfolio and raise funds through a range of criminal activities, including but not limited to extortion, kidnapping for ransom, robbery and theft, drug smuggling, and trafficking in blood diamonds, humans and antiquities, India said.
Noting the scourge of terrorism does not distinguish between countries and regions, India said it is the grossest affront to the enjoyment of the inalienable human right to life and to live in peace and security.
India strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, saying there can be no justification of any form of terrorism. “Looking for root causes for terrorism is akin to finding a needle in a haystack,” India said.