UNITED NATIONS: India has told the UN Security Council that Dawood Ibrahim, who perpetrated the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, and other UN-designated terrorists "unsurprisingly" continue to enjoy "patronage" in a neighbouring country, calling for focused international efforts to address threats posed by the fugitive gangster and terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
India said this in a statement on Thursday to the High Level Open Debate of the UNSC on "Addressing the Issue of Linkages between Terrorism and Organised Crime."
"India has been a victim of terrorism sponsored from across our border. We have experienced first-hand the cruel linkage between transnational organised crime and terrorism."
An organised crime syndicate, the D-Company, that used to smuggle gold and counterfeit currencies transformed into a terrorist entity overnight causing a series of bomb blasts in the city of Mumbai in 1993.
"The attack resulted in the loss of more than 250 innocent lives and damage to property worth millions of dollars," India said in the statement.
The perpetrator of the Mumbai blasts, "unsurprisingly, continues to enjoy patronage in a neighbouring country, a hub for arms trafficking and narcotics trade, along with other terrorists and terrorist entities that have been proscribed by the United Nations," the statement said without naming any country.
India underlined that the success of collective action against the ISIL serves as an example of how focused attention by the international community yields results.
"A similar focus on addressing threats posed by proscribed individuals and entities such as Dawood Ibrahim and his D-Company, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed, will serve humankind well," it said.
India added that terrorism is one of the most serious threats that mankind faces today and the scourge of terrorism does not distinguish between countries and regions.
"It is the grossest affront to the enjoyment of the inalienable human right to life and to live in peace and security. India strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. There can be no justification of any form of terrorism. And looking for root causes for terrorism is akin to finding a needle in a haystack," it said.
India underscored that it is important to hold States accountable for activities that support or encourage terrorism from territories under their control.
The resolutions of the Security Council make clear the primary responsibility of Member States in countering terrorist acts and in preventing and suppressing their financing.
It further said that Member States which suffer due to poor governance and inadequate oversight on financial institutions are more vulnerable for exploitation by the terrorist entities and organised criminals.
"Implementation of recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in strengthening the capabilities of governance structure of financial and economic assets should be one of the topmost priorities to counter the menace," it said.
India said the UN needs to enhance its coordination with bodies like the FATF which have been playing a significant role in setting global standards for preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
It emphasised that today it is a widely accepted fact that terrorist organisations and organised crime groups both constitute "transnational criminal groups".
India said that organised criminal networks also help terrorist groups funnel funds into legitimate businesses.
"There is documented evidence where smuggling of narcotics, natural resources and cultural artefacts are sustained by safe transit corridors provided by terrorist entities. We have seen the destruction created by the narcotic trade in our region that has sustained and funded terrorist networks.
"It is a well known fact in common law that the accomplice is as culpable as the principal. Thus, by virtue of being in nexus with terrorist groups, transnational organised crime groups become accessories to terrorist acts," it said.
India said that over the years, terrorist groups have developed a diversified funding portfolio and raise funds through a range of criminal activities, including but not limited to extortion, kidnapping for ransom, robbery and theft, drug smuggling, and trafficking in blood diamonds, humans and antiquities.
Terrorist organisations have also begun to exploit the anonymity afforded by blockchain technology for fundraising and finances.
As data increasingly becomes the currency of the future, regulators will have to come up with better solutions to fight terrorism.
While nations are focused on delivering healthcare to their people and on tackling the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, organised criminals have, however, been exploiting the crisis to find new avenues for their crimes including illicit trafficking of natural resources, narcotics, firearms and explosives, it said.
"At this stage, it is imperative for all of us to remain alert on the nature of the symbiotic threat posed by the linkage between terrorism and transnational organised crime and reinvigorate our efforts to counter it," it said.
With the rapid development of information and communication technology as well as other technologies concerning financial transactions, encryption, mode of transportation and delivery, India said Member States should remain vigilant in identifying new trends in linkages between terrorist groups / terrorist individuals and organized criminals.