The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is set to hold a meeting on counter-terrorism at Mumbai’s iconic Taj Hotel in Mumbai and Delhi on 28 and 29 October. This time the UNSC’s counter-terrorism meeting is hosted by India at the Taj Hotel which holds a special significance as one of the sites of the 2008 terror attack.
The United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) two-day meeting in India on counter-terrorism will focus on dealing with the use of the internet, new payment mechanism and drones by terrorists.
In a media briefing on Wednesday, Ministry of External Affairs secretary Sanjay Verma said the overarching theme of the meeting would be ‘countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes’. “It’ll begin with a tribute to victims of terrorism,” he added.
Foreign Minister of Gabon, Michael Mousa Adamo, who also is the president of the UNSC for the month will attend the meeting. Foreign Minister of Ghana, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey along with James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary of the UK, Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation of UAE, Miss Megi Fino, Deputy Foreign Minister of Albania will also mark their presence in UNSC meeting in India.
Ruchira Kamboj, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Counter-Terrorism Committee Chair, said that over the past two decades, member states have made tangible progress in countering terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism. Yet, the terrorist threat persists and despite our best efforts have evolved.
Mindful of addressing this issue while also recognising the potential of technologies to increase the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts, the Committee has come together in India to hold its special meeting on countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes, Kamboj said. “Over the past two decades, member states have made tangible progress in countering terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism. Yet, as we all know, the terrorist threat persists, and despite our best efforts, has evolved, she added.
The meeting will be hosted in Mumbai and Delhi on 28 and 29 October, respectively. On day two, that is 29 October, the Committee will conduct a full day’s special meeting in New Delhi, which will bring together a wealth of knowledge and real-world expertise on the subject matter with the participation of member states, relevant operational partners, and key stakeholders.
“The focus (will be) specifically on rapid development, growing use by member states and increasing threat of use for terrorist purposes of 3 significant technologies – 1) internet, including social media, 2) new payment technologies and fundraising methods, 3) unmanned aerial systems, including drones,” Kamboj added.
Dr. David Scharia (Head of Branch, UN-CTED) said, “The Internet allows all of us to communicate in ways we could not have imagined a few years ago. It allowed the world economy to continue to function despite all the horrors brought on us by COVID-19. New payment methods allow remittances to be made easily, rapidly, securely and cheaply also to parts of the world where modern financial systems do not function well or don’t even exist. And UAS or unmanned aerial systems help farmers plan harvest better, they allow the medicine to be brought to remote areas, and humanitarian assistance to be delivered to conflict zones, or to areas struck by natural disasters. But it is because these technologies are so powerful, so disruptive and so transformative that they become such a threat when they are misused, abused or weaponized.”
Sadly, India is also the right place to hold these meetings, because of its own long and tragic experience with terrorism and we all know. And in India, there is no better place to open a series of important discussions than Mumbai. A city not only that has suffered so harshly from terrorism, but also represents a thriving metropolis consisting of wonderful and very warm people who’ve demonstrated to the world that the only resilient response to terrorism is to recommit ourselves to our values and to our way of life, Dr. David Scharia said.
Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West) said the larger purpose of this unprecedented meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee in Mumbai will resonate with the rest of the world because what happened in 2008 was an attack on what would be the identity of India in financial and commercial space. A city that reflects the best of India in terms of its economic development in recent years.
The fact that the CTC has agreed to begin its deliberations in Mumbai is a message in itself. The special meeting of the CTC in Delhi on 29th October will commence with the high-level ministerial plenary session in which UNSG’s message along with EAM and other ministerial participants will address the delegates and discussions during the day will focus on the three separate sub-themes of – one, countering terrorist exploitation of information and communication technologies; two, countering terrorism financing – online threats and opportunities related to new payment technologies and fundraising methods; and thirdly, threats posed by terrorist use of unmanned aircraft systems,” the senior MEA official said.
It is expected that the outcomes of the UNSC CTC meeting would feed into India’s UNSC December presidency opening briefing on global counter-terrorism architecture principles on the way ahead, which is scheduled to be held in New York on 15th December 2022. The proceedings of the meetings both Mumbai and New Delhi segments can be viewed live on UN TV where it will be broadcast globally. On November 18th, the 19th India will also be hosting the third Ministerial Conference, (No Money for Terror) in New Delhi.