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Tue. Dec 6th, 2022
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NEW DEHI: In a veiled reference to the Popular Front of India (PFI), a radical Islamic outfit with pan-India presence that was banned in September 2022 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly propagating anti-national sentiments and radicalising a particular section of society, home minister Amit Shah on Saturday called upon every country to identify and act against similar organisations that promote terrorism and radicalisation under the guise of other motives and tend to become a medium of financing terrorism.
As part of a multi-state, multi-agency crackdown on PFI in September-end, the National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate had raided its premises across a dozen states and arrested more than 110 of its top leaders and cadres.
Also taking an apparent dig at Pakistan in his concluding remarks at the ‘No Money For Terror’ (NMFT) conference attended by delegates from over 70 nations, Shah said some countries, their governments and agencies have made terrorism their “state policy”.
He called for a strict economic crackdown on such terror havens. “We observe that some countries repeatedly support terrorists and those who harbour terrorism. But terrorism has no international boundaries… so all countries should think beyond politics and cooperate with each other. All countries will have to agree on a common definition of ‘terrorism’ and ‘terror financing’,” he underlined. The home minister batted for a “specific but collective approach on a global scale” across all stages of terror financing, such as fund-raising, fund movement, layering through other crimes, and finally, usage for terrorist activities. Calling upon all countries to implement the standards and recommendations set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), he said the approach against terror financing must rest on five pillars: establishment of a comprehensive monitoring framework involving cooperation, coordination, and collaboration among all intelligence and investigative agencies; ‘trace, target and terminate’ approach right from low-level economic offences to more organised economic crimes; strengthening and harmonising the legal structures related to terror finance; developing a robust mechanism against the misuse of ‘next generation technology’; and strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for asset recovery.
Sharing an estimate by the World Bank and IMF that put the annual money laundered each year at around 2-4 trillion dollars, Shah warned that a major part of it goes to fuel terrorism. He said the agencies and relevant authorities must focus on preventing fund diversion from legal financial instruments by fighting anonymity in financial networks; restricting the use of proceeds of other crimes for terrorist activities; preventing use of new financial technologies, virtual assets like crypto currencies, wallets etc., for terror activities; eliminating the use of illegal channels, cash couriers and hawala by terror networks; preventing the use of non-profit entities to spread terror ideology; and continuous capacity building of counter-terror and financial intelligence agencies.
During the two-day NMFT deliberations — which sought to ideate a practical and workable roadmap against terror financing — a need was sensed for permanency of the NMFT mechanism to sustain the continued global focus in this direction. “Time is ripe for a permanent secretariat to be established. In order to take this thought forward, India offers to establish a permanent (NMFT) secretariat in the country. Shortly, India will circulate a discussion paper to all participants for valuable comments,” said Shah.
Sources said NMFT is likely to become an annual feature with a permanent structure that will complement efforts of FATF — which relies on a “counter-terror sanctions” regime created by the United Nations Security Council — to curb terror financing. The proposed NMFT mechanism will be focused on sharing global best practices and intelligence on terror financing systems, setting global standards against terror financing, capacity building and expanding training resources against emerging terrorism methods and technologies including use of crypto currency, organised crime, narcotics trafficking, dark net and other virtual assets to finance terror.
While Nigeria has expressed its willingness to host the 2023 conference and the country’s interior minister will take up the proposal with his government, Germany has offered to host it in 2024 or 2025.

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