Counter terrorism and consensus

Counter terrorism and consensus

‘No consensus’ is derailing counter-terror diplomacy

#GS-02 International Relations, #GS-03 Internal Security

For Prelims:

About No Money for Terror Conference:

  • The Conference is organised by Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) of over 100 countries, jointly called The Egmont Group.
  • The Egmont Group was created to provide FIUs around the world a forum to exchange information confidentially to combat money-laundering, the financing of terrorism and other predicate offences.
  • New Delhi will host the third edition of the “No Money For Terror” (NMFT) conference in 2022.

For Mains

Challenges on fighting Terrorism:

End of Global War on Terror (GWOT):
  • “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), as it was conceived by a post-9/11 United States is over, as the United States negotiated with the Taliban, and then withdrew from Afghanistan.
  • This comes into perspective once we remember that many of the terrorists who went on to help with planning, funding or providing safe havens to the al-Qaeda leadership were those who India was forced to let go after the IC-814 hijacking (December 1999).
  • Back then US, UK, UAE and especially Pakistan refused to side with or even support India to recover the passengers and aircraft.
  • Even after the launch of GWOT, many of the terrorists wanted by India including Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed escaped international sanctions due to Pakistan’s role as the U.S.’s ally, and China’s “iron friend”.
  • The maximum India received in terms of global cooperation was actually from economic strictures that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s grey list placed on Pakistan.
  • Even this has been taken away as Pakistan was cleared from the grey list in October 2022 indicating that the global appetite to punish Pakistan for terrorism has petered out.
  • In addition, the weak international reaction to the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, and its persecution of women and minorities in the country, demonstrate rising fatigue levels in dealing with “another country’s problems”.
  • The hard reality for India is that the future of counter-terrorism cooperation is going to be less cooperative, and counter-terror regimes such as the UNSC Resolutions 1267, 1373, etc. rendered outdated and toothless.


The Russia Ukraine Conflict:
  • The growing global polarisation over the Russia-Ukraine war is not only shifting the focus from terrorism but is also blurring the lines on what constitutes terrorism.
  • The CTC meeting in Delhi, for example, was disrupted over Russia’s claims that the U.K. helped Ukraine launch drone attacks on Russia’s naval fleet in Sevastopol.
  • This all raises the question, if drone attacks by Yemeni Houthis on the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure were condemned as terrorist attacks, why drone attacks on Russian ships in a port used for loading grain, or a bridge bombing that put so many civilian lives at risk were not similarly condemned.
  • The UNSC is unable to pass any meaningful resolutions that are not vetoed by Russia or western members, and China has been able to block as many as five terror designations requested by India and the U.S.


Modern Technology:
  • Drones are already being used to deliver funds, drugs, weapons, ammunition and even improvised explosive devices.
  • After the COVID-19 pandemic, worries have grown about the use of biowarfare, and Gain-of-Function (GoF) research to mutate viruses and vectors which could be released into targeted populations.
  • The use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems and robotic soldiers makes it even easier to perpetrate mass attacks while maintaining anonymity.
  • Terror financing uses bitcoins and cryptocurrency, and terror communications use social media, the dark web and even gaming centres.


What needs to be done:

  • There needs to be an international consensus on what constitutes as terrorism.
  • We need to be able to differentiate between the legitimate use of force by a state for self defence and the state sponsored terrorism.
  • There needs to be clarification over what constitutes a war crime and how to prosecute those who are accused of war crimes.
  • Without some consensus on what constitutes terror, no war on terrorism can be truly global.

To know more about  the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (UNSC-CTC) click here