General Assembly Security Council

Statement by Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on 'International Cooperation on Combating Terrorism  and Violent Extremism' on 19 November,  2014


Madam  President,

1. Let me congratulate Australia for the successful organization of the G-20 Summit and the bilateral visit of our Prime Minister.  Let me thank you for organizing today's open debate on 'International Cooperation on Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism'. I would like to compliment you for circulating a useful and well-structured concept note. May I also convey our appreciation to the Secretary-General and the Chairs of 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee and the Counter Terrorism Committee for their briefings.


2. We assert at the outset that there can be no justification for terrorism, and that the United Nations must demonstrate zero tolerance for terrorism if we are to successfully counter this threat.


Madam  President,

3.The international community is facing unprecedented challenges from terrorism which threatens to endanger the very foundation of democratic societies. United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2178 marks a good beginning in the response of the Security Council to one dimension of this threat. The impact of UNSCR 2178 will depend on how it is implemented by member states, keeping in mind their obligations under Article 25 of the UN Charter. Much will also depend on how the compliance of member states with the objectives of UNSCR 2178 is addressed by the Council. The Council's credibility as an effective and empowered body will be tested by the way it oversees implementation of UNSCR 2178.


4. The Concept Note brings out the immediate context behind UNSCR 2178. With regard to the first and second basket of issues in the Note, asking member states to speak on national experience and data collection, we would like to point out that a wealth of such information is already available to the Council. In India, we have used grassroots level local committees for outreach and feedback on Counter Terrorism, and formulated appropriate counter terror narratives.  Based on our collection of data on travel and transit of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF), we feel there is need to enhance international cooperation in disrupting the travel of such elements.


Madam  President,

5. The FTF phenomenon is not a recent one. The issue, therefore, is not so much as the need to collect more information, but what the Council proposes to do with such information. We believe that the Council needs to act robustly using the instruments of law, using the information available to it, to counter terrorism and maintain international peace and security.  In this context, we urge that the Council add its collective voice to the early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, so that member states are legally obliged under Article 25 of the Charter to either prosecute, or extradite, terrorists.


6. With respect to the third basket identified in the Concept Note, viz. the role of the United Nations entities in countering terrorism, we would recall that during the recent review of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, it was stated by the Secretariat that there are as many as 31 separate entities in the UN family dealing with this issue. However, it is a matter of concern that there is no single focal point or coordinator, accountable to the member states of the United Nations, for the activities of these various entities.  This must be rectified urgently.


Madam  President,

7. There are at least three important observations in the Concept Note that we welcome. One of them relates to the infrastructure of terrorism, which involves both physical structures as well as financial and ideological wellsprings. Since this infrastructure does not exist in a vacuum, it is an inescapable conclusion that member states have an obligation to act swiftly to prevent their sovereign territory from being used by terrorists. No member state can hope to be immune to the threat of such terrorism, and the infrastructure of terrorism therefore needs to be erased urgently if we are to avoid a doomsday scenario.


8.Second, the increasingly sophisticated use of technology and communications to commit ever more barbaric acts of terror. We fully agree with this observation, based on our own horrendous experience of 26 November 2008 in Mumbai, which was carried out by foreign terrorist fighters in the full glare of the international media. One of the fighters was apprehended by our authorities, and prosecuted and penalized through due process of law. 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.


9. Third, the threat posed by terrorists to United Nations peacekeepers, specifically in the Golan Heights and in Mali to date. Unless effectively deterred, such threats will only increase in number and scope. In the case of UNDOF, it has been alleged that the foreign terrorist fighters who attacked UN peacekeepers belong to the Al Nusra Front, which is proscribed by the Security Council as a terrorist group. We call on the Security Council to take urgent and visible steps to use its authority to investigate, prosecute and penalize the perpetrators of such terrorist acts. A clear obligation for all member states to act against foreign terrorist fighters who attack UN peacekeepers should become an integral part of the peacekeeping mandates approved by the Council.


10. Finally, it is not clear to us as to what are the working procedures applied within the Council when it deliberates on how to counter terrorism, which is becoming the single biggest threat to the maintenance of international peace and security. We feel that it would benefit the Council to have regular interactive sessions with member states to address these issues. Such an innovation will go a long way to offset the widely held perception that the Council uses different standards to deal with terrorism.


Madam  President,

11. In conclusion, Mr. President, we would reiterate that the fight against terrorism has to be unrelenting and fought across all fronts. The immediate lesson all of us must draw from what is today the focus of our debate - foreign terrorist fighters - is that the international community cannot afford selective approaches in dealing with terrorist groups or in dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism. There can never be any justification of terrorism.

I thank you.