Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar today proposed an eight-point action plan at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to ensure effective action against the menace of terrorism — describing terrorism as the greatest threat to mankind. Without naming either Pakistan or China, the minister bashed the former for supporting terrorism and mocked the latter.
Jaishankar said that there could be no double standards on the issue of terrorism. He said that the practice of blocking requests for designation of terrorists “without any rhyme or reason” had to end.
China had earlier at least on four occasions blocked a UN ban on JeM chief Masood Azhar even though he headed an organisation designated by a UNSC sanctions committee already.
In an intervention at a UNSC debate on combating international terrorism, Jaishankar called upon the council to first summon up the political will to combat terrorism, saying there must be no ifs and buts in this fight. “Nor should we allow terrorism to be justified and terrorists glorified. All member states must fulfil their obligations enshrined in international counter-terrorism instruments and conventions,” he said.
Second, Jaishankar said, it was important to not countenance double standards in this battle as there are no good or bad terrorists. He said those who propagate this distinction have an agenda and those who cover up for them are just as culpable.
Third, India’s diplomat-turned-foreign minister called for a reform of the working methods of committees dealing with sanctions and counter-terrorism. He said transparency, accountability and effectiveness were the need of the day.
Jaishankar said blocking listing requests only eroded the collective credibility of the members. “Four, we must firmly discourage exclusivist thinking that divides the world and harms our social fabric. Such approaches facilitate radicalization and recruitment by breeding fear, mistrust, and hatred among different communities. The Council should be on guard against new terminologies and misleading priorities that can dilute our focus,” he said.
The minister also said that enlisting and delisting individuals and entities under the UN sanctions regimes must be done objectively, not for political or religious considerations, and that linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime must be fully recognized and addressed vigorously.
“We, in India, have seen the crime syndicate responsible for the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts not just given state protection but enjoying 5-star hospitality,” he said, without naming Dawood Ibrahim, the main accused in the blasts, or Pakistan.
Jaishankar said the FATF should continue to identify and remedy weaknesses in anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing frameworks and tha enhanced UN coordination with FATF could make a big difference. Lastly, he said, adequate funding to UN counterterrorism bodies from the UN regular budget required immediate attention.
Hitting out at Pakistan again, Jaishankar said that while some states lacked the legal and operational frameworks and technical expertise needed to detect, investigate, and prosecute terrorist financing cases, there were others clearly guilty of aiding and supporting terrorism, and wilfully providing financial assistance and safe-havens.
“While we must enhance capacities of the former, the international community must collectively call out the latter and hold them accountable,” said the minister.
Jaishankar was participating in a UNSC open debate on “International Cooperation in combating terrorism 20 years after the adoption of 1373”. UNSC Resolution 1373 against terrorism was passed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the US. This was the first time that the minister made an intervention in the UNSC after India assumed membership on January 1 this year.