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Key Issues in Focus at UNSC’s Counter-terrorism Meet in India

The counter-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council will meet in Mumbai and Delhi on October 28 and 29. (Image for representation: Reuters/File)

The overarching theme of the special meeting is the terrorist’s use of new and emerging technologies, said MEA secretary (west) Sanjay Verma

The terrorist’s use of new and emerging technologies will be the overarching theme of the UNSC’s counter-terrorism committee, which will be hosted in Mumbai and Delhi on October 28 and 29. The special meeting will begin with a tribute to victims of terrorism, said external affairs ministry secretary (west) Sanjay Verma on Wednesday.

Mumbai’s Taj Palace Hotel, the site of 26/11 and one of India’s worst terror attacks in 2008, will be the first stop to discuss ways to deal with terrorist groups using the internet, new online payment mechanism and unmanned aerial systems. The second day’s deliberations will take place in New Delhi.

Here is all you need to know about this high-profile meeting:

  1. India’s permanent representative to UN, counter-terrorism committee chair, Ruchira Kamboj said terrorist threats had persisted despite best efforts to thwart them. Member states have, however, made tangible progress in countering terrorism and violent extremism, she said.
  2. Kamboj said terrorism is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. “With growing prevalence of technology and rapid rise in digitisation, addressing use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes has become an issue of increasing concern,” she said.
  3. The committee will be coming together in India not only to address this issue but also to recognise technologies that can effectively aid counterterrorism efforts, Kamboj said. The rapid development and growing use of three significant technologies will be looked into: internet, including social media; new payment technologies and fundraising methods; and unmanned aerial systems, such as drones.
  4. External affairs secretary Sanjay Verma said the larger purpose of the “unprecedented meeting” will resonate with the rest of the world because of what happened in Mumbai in 2008. The attack, he said, was on the identity of India in financial and commercial space. “A city which reflects the best of India in terms of its economic development in recent years and the fact that the CTC has agreed to begin its deliberations in Mumbai is a message in itself,” he added.
  5. India left behind victimhood and paved the way for the international community, particularly for UNSC, to identify the three areas of concern and brought together 15 members for the special meeting, said David Scharia, head of branch, UN CTED on Counter-Terrorism Committee. “It will help India and all countries. That’s why we are very grateful to India for not just focusing on its own challenge of terrorism but on dealing with global issues to find global solutions,” he said.
  6. Other objectives include identifying continuing challenges, sharing good practices in compliance with international human rights laws, industry action, public-private partnerships, and legislative, policy, and regulatory responses.
  7. Verma said UK foreign secretary James Cleverly will be among foreign ministers who will attend the inaugural session in Mumbai. For the first time in the last seven years, the CTC has planned to hold a special meeting away from its headquarters.
  8. Scharia said the CTC should decide, under Indian leadership, that it was time to act. “Over the last few months and in the coming few days, CTC members represented at a very high level, will discuss what the shape of our response will be like,” he said, adding that all agreed that for the response to be truly effective it must be global. “The members have therefore agreed to work collaboratively in tackling these issues despite many differences among and numerous other pressing global challenges.”

(With PTI inputs)

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