India seeks global nod to set up permanent secretariat to stifle terror funding beyond jurisdictions


India on Saturday urged nations to establish a permanent secretariat to sustain continued global focus on countering terror financing. 

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during his address to delegates at the concluding session of the global conference against terrorist funding, sought suggestions from the participating nations on the need to have a structure for the unique initiative of No Money For Terror (NMFT) and stated that “time is ripe for a permanent secretariat to be established”. 

India circulated a discussion paper to all participating countries for their comments as Shah advocated that it was important for all countries to implement the standards and recommendations set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) not just on paper but in spirit too.

Seventy-two countries and international organisations are participating in the third ministerial conference on countering the financing of terrorism but China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have opted out of the two-day event.

Combatting terrorism financing

According to the Union Minister, financing of terrorism can be combatted on the basis of five pillars. The first pillar, he said, 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”, is to be adopted from low-level economic offenses to more organised economic crimes, Shah stated.

The third pillar is strengthening and harmonising the legal structures related to terror finance, while the fourth pillar is developing a robust mechanism against the misuse of next generation technology. And, finally, the fifth pillar is strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for asset recovery.

Shah mentioned his Ministry’s coordinated action against the Popular Front of India (PFI) which included banning it for conspiring to radicalise the youth and push them toward terrorism.

“I believe that every country should identify and take stringent action against such organisations,” he suggested to delegates since he stressed that some organisations under the guise of other motives promote terrorism and radicalisation at the national and international levels. 

Shah again reiterated his verbal assault though obliquely against Pakistan by stating that “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 with a strict economic crackdown. All the countries of the world will have to make up their minds on this, rising above their geo-political interests,” he insisted as the conference came to an end.

For the success of the fight against evil, the Minister was of the view that all countries will have to agree on one common 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,” he said.

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