Cross-border terrorism continuing: India


New Delhi : Underlining India's "abiding commitment" to work with the world community in preventing, combating and eliminating terrorism, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee pointedly stated Wednesday that cross-border terror in the sub-continent was continuing.

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"Despite repeated assurances, the infiltration of terrorists from across India's borders continues," Mukherjee said in an intervention on a counter-terrorism discussion at the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Hamburg.

This was the first time India was participating in the ASEM that brings together leading countries of the two continents in an annual interface.

"The infrastructure to support terrorist organizations and activities has also not been fully dismantled. Ending cross-border terrorism remains for India a principal goal and challenge," he added.

A copy of the minister's speech was made available here. This was Mukherjee's second intervention at ASEM. On Tuesday, he had spoken on Afghanistan and Iran.

Stating that "India has lived with cross-border terrorism for over two decades", the minister added that recent terrorist acts like the blast at a mosque in Hyderabad and bomb explosions on an India-Pakistan peace train "only reflect the painful reality that terrorism continues to pose a grave threat to India's security and communal harmony.

"We are, however, determined to take all feasible steps to defeat terrorists in attaining their goals of spreading terror and creating a communal divide," Mukherjee maintained.

In this context, the minister noted that terrorists had "falsely propagated their narrative that global counter-terrorism efforts are directed against a particular religion or community.

"We must repudiate this narrative by strongly rejecting any attempt to associate terrorism with any religion, race, nationality or ethnic group," Mukherjee asserted.

According to Mukherjee, it was equally important to take steps to deny funds to terrorists and dismantle their financing channels, apart from taking security and low-enforcement measures to prevent terrorist acts.

"India regards combating the financing of terrorism a crucial element of its counter-terrorism strategy," he stated, adding that India was an observer at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and was working towards joining it as a member.

FATF is an inter-governmental body developing and promoting policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

This apart, India was also working toward joining the Egmont Group, the coordinating body for the international group of financial intelligence units (FIUs) formed in 1995 to promote and enhance international cooperation in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing, even as it was a member of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering, the minister stated.

Holding that India believed the UN had a "crucial role" to play in global efforts towards combating terrorism, Mukherjee said that over a decade ago, New Delhi had presented the draft of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

"It is unfortunate that in spite of the commitment of member states, as reflected in the 2005 World Summit to conclude negotiations on this convention, some contentious issues till remain unresolved.

"We remain actively engaged with other member states of the UN with the objective of its expeditious finalisation," the minister maintained.

India also remained committed to "fully implementing" the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

"We have joined all the 13 International Conventions related to counter-terrorism, including the recently adopted International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism," Mukherjee pointed out.

Noting that India has also been playing an active role in forging regional cooperation in combating terrorism, he said that New Delhi was conscious of the role multilateral and regional fora like the NAM, SAARC, ARF and ASEM, can play in global efforts for combating terrorism.

"We regard the member states of the ASEAN and the EU as our partners and allies in countering terrorism. We are working towards strengthening cooperation among SAARC member States and the full and effective implementations of the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and its protocol," Mukherjee said.

As part of India's endeavour to work with the world community in global counter-terrorism efforts, it had entered into Joint Working Groups (JWGs) with 25 countries and two international organizations – the EU and the BIMSTEC.

"These JWGs meet regularly for coordinating and cooperating in counter-terrorism efforts," Mukherjee stated.