India calls for zero-tolerance against extremism

Syed Akbaruddin

United Nations: India has called for a zero-tolerance approach, without any ‘double standards’, to combat the existential global threat of the terror-crime nexus, under which UN-sanctioned terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to ‘destabilise regions through their cross-border financing’ and propaganda.

”We have heard today how the twin scourges of terror and organised crime feed off the same lifelines. The nature of their relationship may vary, but they are sustained by the same malignant forces that seek to undermine governance, development and social cohesion through the illegitimate use of violence,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said here.

Speaking at a high-level special event of the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on ”Cooperation to promote peace, security and stability: preventing the linking of terrorism with organised crime and its financing through drug trafficking”, Akbaruddin said, ”The terror-crime nexus is an existential global threat, the contours of which are mutating everyday.”

In order to combat this menace, Akbaruddin said the international community will need to keep ahead of the new trends and technologies — ”something that can only be achieved if we work together, with a zero-tolerance approach, bereft of double standards”.

Akbaruddin emphasised that an added challenge in the nexus between terror and organised crime is the role of new and emerging technologies, including virtual currencies, encrypted communications and artificial intelligence.

”Such technologies are making networks loosely associated on the ground, closely intertwined in cyber-space,” he said.

The Indian envoy said UN-designated terrorist organisations such as the ISIL, the Al-Shabab, the Al-Qaida, the Boko Haram, the LeT and the JeM ”continue to destabilise entire regions through their cross-border financing, propaganda, and recruitment, including by using — rather abusing — evolving global public goods such as the cyberspace and social media”.

He stressed that terrorist organisations are engaging in lucrative criminal activities such as human trafficking to raise funds. At the same time, he said, criminal groups have joined hands with terrorists to provide illicit financing through drug trafficking, arms dealing, selling looted antiquities, money laundering and counterfeiting.

”Depending upon the circumstances, these groups can coexist, cooperate and even converge,” Akbaruddin said. He cited the example of drug trafficking used to finance terror networks in South Asia.