India criticises UN terror report for ignoring JeM, LeT

India has criticised a report of the UN Secretary-General on terrorism for ignoring the Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant groups despite drawing attention to them.

While silent on the terrorist groups like the JeM and the LeT that pose threats to India, the report mentions the anti-Beijing Uyghur separatist groups, the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in its sparse coverage of South Asia.

India’s Permanent Representative T.S. Tirumurti told the Security Council on Wednesday: “We have been reiterating the close links between proscribed terrorist entities under the 1267 Sanctions regime such as LeT and other terror groups including the JeM.

“However inspite of repeatedly flagging these concerns, the SG’s (Secretary-General’s) report has failed to take notice of these linkages.”

Stressing the reason to pay attention to them, he said: “It is essential that we don’t lose sight of the ease with which the proscribed Haqqani Network, with support from their patron state, have worked along with prominent terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda, IS-K, etc. in South Asia.

“We hope that in future iterations of such reports, inputs from all member states would be treated on an equal footing and an evidence based and credible yardstick be applied by its authors.”

He was speaking after a Council briefing on “Threat to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts” by Vladimir Voronkov, the under-secretary-general heading the Office of Counter-Terrorism, and Weixiong Chen, the acting executive director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate.

They presented the “14th report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by IS (Islamic State) to international peace and security and the range of UN efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat”, which has only three paragraphs on South and Central Asia in which it faulted the Taliban for not acting against foreign terrorists.

“There are no recent signs that the Taliban has taken steps to limit the activities of foreign terrorist fighters in the country. On the contrary, Member States are concerned that terrorist groups enjoy greater freedom in Afghanistan than at any time in recent history,” it said.

The report said that the IS in Afghanistan “is taking advantage of the turmoil in the country, including by recruiting fighters” from the ETIM and TIP.

The UN has designated the two groups as terrorist organisations, like it has with LeT and JeM about which the report is silent.

China’s Permanent Representative Zhang Jun took note of the mention of the two anti-Beijing groups in the report and said Beijing was “deeply concerned” about the IS’s attempts to recruit from them.

Tirumurti drew attention to Pakistan’s role in backing terrorist organisations without directly naming Islamabad.

In a reference to a statement by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan about the founder of Al Qaeda, he said: “We should not forget the fact that, even after 20 years of September 11 attacks, we have leaders who, without any remorse, continue to defend Osama Bin Laden as a martyr.”

He also said that the proscribed Haqqani Network operated with ease “with support from their patron state”.

Tirumurti warned that the terrorist organisations are adapting technologies that “pose a dynamic threat for which most of the member states do not have adequate response”.

These include the social media, new digital payment methods, cryptocurrencies, crowdfunding platforms and drones, he said.

“We need to work together to develop appropriate solutions and evolve global standards to address these threats,” Tirumrti said.

Addressing his briefing, Voronkov said: “Military counter-terrorism operations may be necessary, but comprehensive measures with a strong focus on prevention are required to address the dynamics that fuel the appeal of terrorism.”

He called the US attack in Syria that killed Islamic State leader Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Salbi “encouraging”.

But, he cautioned that the Islamic State “is known for its ability to re-group despite similar losses in the past, maintaining and intensifying its activities in conflict-afflicted regions across the world.”

He urged the Security Council and UN members to “to use every available tool at their disposal to sustain important gains against the threat posed by the IS to prevent its regional expansion, and curtail its capabilities to launch attacks and recruit new members to its ranks”.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in and followed @arulouis)

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