New Delhi: India will make a voluntary contribution of half a million US dollars to the UN Trust Fund for Counter Terrorism this year, External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar announced here on Saturday.
He was delivering a keynote address at the Plenary Session of the Special Meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee on Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.
The Indian contribution, he said, will “augment the efforts of UNOCT in providing capacity-building support to member states in preventing and countering the threat of terrorism”.
Teeming the UN Security Council an important architecture to combat the menace of terrorism, the Minister said the threat of terrorism was only growing and expanding, particularly in Asia and Africa, as successive reports of the 1267 Sanctions Committee Monitoring Reports have highlighted.
He said that the new and emerging technologies, from virtual private networks, and encrypted messaging services to blockchain and virtual currencies, “offer a very promising future for a wide array of economic and social benefits for humankind”.
“These very technologies have also thrown up new challenges for the governments and regulatory bodies due to their potential vulnerability for misuse by non-state actors, given the very nature of some of these technologies and the nascent regulatory environment.
“In recent years, terrorist groups, their ideological fellow-travelers, particularly in open and liberal societies and ‘lone wolf’ attackers, have significantly enhanced their capabilities by gaining access to these technologies,” he added.
Dr. Jaishankar said that the terrorists use technology and money, and most importantly, the ethos of open societies, to attack freedom, tolerance, and progress.
“Internet and social media platforms have turned into potent instruments in the toolkit of terrorist and militant groups for spreading propaganda, radicalization and conspiracy theories aimed at destabilizing societies.”
The Minister said that another add-on to the existing worries for governments around the world was the use of unmanned aerial systems by terrorist groups and organized criminal networks.
“Being a relatively low-cost option and with an increasing ease of accessibility, misuse of these unmanned aerial platforms for nefarious purposes by terrorist groups such as weapons and explosives delivery and targeted attacks have become an imminent danger,” he said.
“They are, therefore, a challenge for security agencies worldwide. The possibilities of using weaponized drones for terrorist purposes against strategic, infrastructure, and commercial assets call for serious attention by the member states,” he added.
Dr. Jaishankar said India’s own experience of the 2008 Mumbai attacks showed how a benign technology of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) could be used for organizing and directing such a barbaric terrorist attack from beyond the borders.
“More recently, these terrorist groups have been using unmanned aerial platforms, such as drones and quadcopters for cross-border trafficking of drugs and arms and for carrying out terrorist attacks,” he said.