Editorial: The World Needs Equality, Equity & Justice for Peace and to Disarm the Roots of Terror. We suffered on 9/11 an attack worse than Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which then president Franklin Delano Roosevelt said: “a day that will live in infamy.“ India suffered her 9/11 on November 26, 2008, where even American Jewry, the Lubavitchers headquartered in Williamsburg New York, were specifically targeted in Mumbai! While every nation must unite, and is united, in counterterrorism activities, we must also address and disarm the “roots of terror“ with equity, equality, “and justice for all.”
Today, December 1, 2022, India takes the presidency of the United Nations Security Council, and her ambassador, H.E. Ruchira Kamboj, the first Indian Lady ambassador to do so, is also chair of the UNSC Counter-Terrorism Committee, which H.E. Hardeep Singh Puri first chaired, over a decade ago, soon after the 11/26 Mumbai Terror Attacks.
India’s “this is not an era for war” P.M. Narendra Modi today takes the presidency of G20 – a grouping of top 20 nation’s leadership – and is already chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization after the September 15, 2022 Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekizstan, ably chaired by President Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev.
The America Times received the below article today, and is published as received.
December 1, 2022
Ravi Batra, Co-Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj’s Article follows:
Fourteen years ago, on 26 November 2008, the city of Mumbai, the financial hub of India, witnessed one of the most shocking terror attacks of our times. 140 Indian nationals and 26 citizens of 23 other countries lost their lives in a period of 4 days. In fact, this entire city was held hostage by terrorists who had entered from across the border.
2. It was not just an attack on Mumbai, but an attack on the international community. Nationals of specific countries were identified before being murdered. The commitment of the international community, the United Nations and each and every member state of the United Nations to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestation stood challenged, as not only were the attacks conducted by highly trained terrorists from across the border, the perpetrators, facilitators and financiers of these attacks continued to walk free, enjoying state hospitality and support. Moreover, efforts to sanction the perpetrators of these attacks were continuously being blocked for narrow political considerations.
3. Therefore, when the United Nations Security Council, as an important multilateral organ for the maintenance of international peace and security, through its subsidiary body, the Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) came together in Mumbai to pay homage to the victims of the terrorist attacks, it symbolized the reposing of faith by the victims in the international community that the Council does pay attention to their pain, and would work collectively to ensure that not only would the victims get justice but also that the world becomes a better place to exist, by getting rid of the scourge of terrorism.
4. As a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the years 2021-22, and as the Chair of the CTC for 2022, India placed counter terrorism as one the top priorities of its term in the Council. In 2021, while addressing the Security Council, Dr. S. Jaishankar had propounded an 8-point action plan for countering terrorism.
And India has been a strong voice to support multilateral efforts led by the United Nations to counter terrorism. It has been successfully highlighting the changing nature of terrorism, while also cautioning about the ‘tendencies’ driven by narrow political aspirations, which can potentially divide the international fight against terrorism.
5. The Special Meeting of the CTC in Mumbai and in Delhi, India was therefore, important for several reasons:
One, the Special Meeting brought to the fore a very important issue of the use of new and emerging technologies by terrorist groups for advancing their nefarious goals. The use of the internet, social media, encryption-based messaging services, blockchain technologies, new payment methods, drones etc. have spurred economic growth, innovations, social mobility, connectivity, effective service delivery, privacy etc. However, their easy availability and widespread accessibility are also fraught with their misuse by terrorist actors in fomenting radicalism, hatred, propaganda for the financing of terrorist activities as well as the transfer of funds, for weaponizing the use of drones, for launching cross border terrorist attacks and trafficking narcos and arms.
Two, the special meeting of the CTC acknowledged the gravity of the threat posed by the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes and emphasized the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach in this regard, involving the law enforcement agencies, private sector, civil society organizations, academia, think tanks etc. to understand and address this threat. Despite the inhibitions of some delegations in supporting the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the meeting acknowledged the work of the FATF in countering the financing of terrorism and emphasized the need for adoption by member states of FATF recommendations on suppressing misuse of new payment methods, including value stored and prepaid cards, virtual assets, cryptocurrencies, crowdfunding platforms etc. by terrorist groups for raising funds.
Three, the meeting brought together the Security Council, as well as a large number of member states, international and regional organizations, civil society organizations, think tanks, the private sector, highlighting the need for a whole-ofsociety approach to prevent and counter the threat of terrorism. The meeting was attended by more than 400 representatives from 54 member states, 33 International and Regional Organizations, and 27 CSOs, academia, and private sector multi-stakeholder organizations. Among the more than 60 speakers, 40% were women.
Four, the Delhi Declaration, adopted by the CTC during the Special Meeting has manifested the resolve of the Security Council to deal with new and emerging threats in a comprehensive manner, through development of recommendations for member states in the short term and developing a normative framework in the form of guiding principles in a longer term, which can guide member states in addressing this threat.
Five, the terrorist threat in South Asia goes beyond the threat posed by Al-Qaida and ISIL the two organizations which remain the focus of the UN multilateral counter terrorism efforts. It was important to highlight the threat posed by terrorist organizations, such as the Lashkar-E-Tayyiba, Jaish-I-Mohammad, Harkat-UlMujahiddin and their proxies, which for the last three decades have been targeting Indian citizens, security forces, and infrastructure. In Mumbai, the CTC members witnessed the testimonies of the victims of terrorism in India, highlighting a common message, that terrorism targets humanity. The human cost of terrorism whether by the Al-Qaida and ISIL/Dae’sh or through cross border attacks of the LET, JIM or HUM, remains the same. And therefore, it is important that our fight against terrorism is inclusive and not exclusive, taking into account the terror activities of region-specific terrorist groups.
Six, India was able to highlight the fact that when a state and its machinery get involved in actively supporting and sheltering terrorism targeted at their neighbors, this not only becomes a challenge for the targeted country but also jeopardizes the international commitment to fight terrorism, collectively and unequivocally. The same countries further muddle the scene by putting out lies, fake news and narratives, portraying themselves oftentimes as victims of terrorism. It is important that such vicious efforts are called out by the international community.
Terrorism is a common threat to humanity. India, with a deep civilizational ethos of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam or “the whole world is one family”, will continue to combat the menace of terrorism to protect humanity, and the world.