India calls for action to stop terrorists exploiting the net

By Arul Louis,

United Nations : Citing the use of internet technologies during the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, India has called for changes to the management of the internet infrastructure to prevent terrorists from exploiting it.

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India’s UN Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji, speaking to the UN Security Council Wednesday during a marathon session on international cooperation to combat terrorism, drew attention “to the increasingly sophisticated use of technology and communications to commit ever more barbaric acts of terror”.

He recalled the Mumbai attack and said, “This was the first time that we confronted the use of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to direct terrorist acts. We believe that if we are serious about countering this challenge in an effective manner, we must agree on necessary adjustments to be made in the way the global Internet infrastructure is currently managed in order to counter the exploitation of the Internet by terrorists.”

Mukerji also urged the Council to “add its collective voice” for the early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that would legally compel countries to either prosecute or extradite terrorists.

The drafting of the convention is now languishing in the UN General Assembly’s legal committee which is deadlocked over defining terrorism.

The Council’s discussions took place against the backdrop of revelations that more than 15,000 foreign fighters from over 80 countries, including many in Europe, had joined terrorist organisations in Syria, Iraq and neighbouring countries.

Delegates from more than 60 countries participated in the session presided over by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Canadian Deputy Permanent Representative Michael Douglas Grant referred to the 2008 Mumbai attack in India six years ago and said it demonstrated how violent extremism could become even more dangerous when backed by the capacities of a sovereign state.

Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Masood Khan asserted that his country’s “experience is that there should be zero tolerance for terrorists and violent extremists”.

For that reason, he said Pakistan has been carrying out a “counter-terrorist operation to take out terrorists, to dismantle their networks, to staunch their flow inside and outside borders, and to destroy their support system.”

In a statement issued on behalf of the Council, Bishop referred to the use of technology by terrorists and said countries should oppose violent extremist propaganda on the internet and social media by developing effective counter-narratives and work with civil society organisations and the private sector to accomplish this.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected])