Terrorism, India and the UN’s 7th STAG meet
If a soldier loses his life in the line of duty, he is cremated with all the honors of the state, his family and friends are proud that their child has lost his life in the service of the nation. In another scenario, an ordinary man goes to work like any other working day by taking a train at the Chhatrapati Shivaji terminal. He is preoccupied with thoughts like taking the train, finding the right seat, or arriving at the office on time. He has no idea that out of the blue a man he has done no harm to will open fire on him with an AK-47, and that would be the end of his life. Counting his last breaths, the mind of the dying man would be occupied with a single thought: what have I done wrong? This man would not be cremated with state honors; his friends and family would not be proud of his death.
The deceased’s family would go into shock; they would consider if they had done something wrong in their life to deserve such a fate. They would also calculate whether they had paid their taxes on time because the job of protecting their lives was entrusted to the government when they voted. Every nation on this earth suffers from the scourge called terrorism; globalization has made terrorism interconnected across the world. To fight terrorism, the world must come together as an international community and accept that terrorism is a deadly, serious and universal problem. Terrorism can only be defeated when all nation states make unwavering collective efforts. This was the central theme of the seventh review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). We live in a time when a decision made in one corner of the world has a cumulative effect on the whole world.
There is no point in differentiating terrorists on the basis of nationality, affected regions and ideology. The Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ambassador TS Trimurti, stressed the need to combine efforts and called for not dividing terrorists into “yours” and “mine”. When Osama bin Laden attacked the Twin Towers of America, also known as 9/11, it was only after this incident that the world began to recognize the impact of terrorism on every country in the world. Almost 20 years after the attack, the world started dividing terrorism again into categories such as violent nationalism and right-wing extremism, ethnically motivated violent extremism, and so on. Ambassador Trimurti, in his speech, said: “I hope Member States will not forget history and again divide terrorism into different categories and bring us back to the era of your terrorists and mine terrorists the gains we have made over the past two decades. ”.
He insisted on the need for a universal definition of terrorism, and its continued absence is a blow to progress. While building a remarkable architecture, the base of this building is secured as a priority before any new construction. Likewise, the objective of the GCTS is defeated if a comprehensive and international definition of terrorism is not adopted. Any other deliberation within the GCTS will lead to an impasse. Indian representation has found a universal definition. According to the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office, the STAG strategy aims to provide global instruments so that international, national and regional efforts to reduce terrorism are strengthened. The assembly adopted the strategy by consensus in 2006, a pioneering step in the joint fight against terrorism. In this dynamic world, the dynamics of terrorism are constantly changing as the United Nations General Assembly reviews the two-year strategy to keep up with the change. It also ensures that the strategy is a living document that encompasses the counterterrorism needs of member countries.
Trimurti, in his speech, highlighted how the STAG strategy has contributed to international peace and security. It is a recognized principle that all forms of terrorism must be condemned. There can be no exceptions or reasonable excuses to justify an act or manifestation of terrorism. Many times, while performing a pure motive, illicit activities are carried out; these activities should be condemned for whatever reason. Terrorism is a nightmare which should not be hidden behind nationality, ethnicity, civilization or religion. Instead of shaming member states for what a particular member failed to achieve, nation states should focus on seizing every opportunity to fight terrorism so that no one justifies terrorist activities. Defend terrorist activities on the basis of religion, ethnicity, nationality, etc. maybe an exchange of a few words for a delegation. But the cumulative effect of this exchange is increased motivation, funding and recruitment into terrorist organizations around the world.
The growing issue of religious phobias is mentioned in the documents, but the phobia and related activities only concern three Abrahamic religions. The body that met in August did not recognize hate crimes and violent terrorist attacks against religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. It is necessary to differentiate between pluralistic countries and countries which use sectarian violence to subsume the rights of minority communities. The United Nations is a place where an individual or delegation can harbor an environment based on the principles of humanity and compassion to collectively fight terrorism. It is not a place where countries of the same religion side with religious phobias. Any discussion and its communiqué are only successful when the provisions of this resolution are implemented on the ground. It is necessary to preach. Indian citizens have been victims of cross-border terrorism for decades, thanks to which India has been one of the pioneers in the fight against terrorism.
On the other hand, many Member States harbor, finance, support terrorists and terrorist organizations. They justify this aid with ideological support, thus violating global commitments. It is time to publicly condemn these Member States. Social media has infiltrated every sinew of our lives, making us responsive and inseparable from them. The internet and social media are misused by terrorists for the purposes of propaganda, recruitment and radicalization. Disruptive technologies like blockchain and other payment methods like crowdfunding platforms, e-wallets, etc. are the main source of terrorist financing. Artificial intelligence, 3D printing, augmented reality and robotics have changed lives around the world, but have also revolutionized terrorism. A collaborative effort of nation states around the world with zero tolerance is the only answer to terrorism. He also said: “The international community must adopt a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism. Our collective condemnation of terrorism must be strong, clear and unambiguous ”.