United Nations Security Council meeting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at UN headquarters | File photo: AP
United Nations: India will host diplomats of the 15-nation UN Security Council in October for a special meeting on counter-terrorism.
India is halfway through the second year of its two-year term as an elected non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
India's tenure at the Council will end in December this year when the country will also preside as President of the powerful UN organ for the month.
India chairs the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee for 2022 and will in October host diplomats of the 15-nation Security Council, including US, China and Russia, for the counter-terrorism committee's special meeting.
Current members of the Security Council are Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway and the UAE, along with five permanent members China, France, Russia, the UK and the US.
“Mindful of the increasing threat posed by the misuse of new and emerging technologies,” the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) has decided to hold a special meeting on this theme,” with the support of its Executive Directorate (CTED), in India on October 29, 2022, according to information on the Committee's website.
It said the special meeting will specifically focus on three significant areas where emerging technologies are experiencing rapid development, growing use by member states (including for security and counter-terrorism purposes), and the increasing threat of abuse for terrorism purposes, namely Internet and social media, terrorism financing, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
It is not very frequent that the Counter-Terrorism Committee meets outside of New York but the meeting in India will be the seventh time that this is happening. The most recent special meeting of the CTC outside of United Nations headquarters took place in Madrid, Spain, in July 2015, focusing on foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs).
The Committee said further that with the prevalence of technology and rapid rise in digitisation, the use of new and emerging technologies to counter-terrorism is a topic of growing interest among the member states, policymakers and researchers, particularly in the context of the increasing role played by technology in terrorism and counter-terrorism.
This is addressed by the Security Council in a number of counter-terrorism-related resolutions, most recently resolution 2617 (2021), which explicitly cited “emerging technologies”.
The special meeting would be conducted in the six official languages of the United Nations and be open to the wider United Nations membership and other relevant stakeholders.
India's then Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti had in January this year assumed the Chair of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee for 2022. Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, the country's new envoy to the UN, now assumes that role.
Tirumurti had told the UN Security Council briefing on ‘The Use of Digital Technologies in Maintaining International Peace and Security' in May that there is a need for addressing the abuse of digital technologies by terrorist groups to disseminate terrorist ideologies, radicalise, incite violence, and recruit the next generation of terrorist actors taking advantage of the enhanced online presence of young people.
He had informed the Security Council that India has proposed holding a special meeting of the Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee in India soon.
“The need for member states to comprehensively address and tackle the implications of terrorist exploitation of the digital technologies more strategically has never been more dire," he said.
"I am happy to inform this Council that India has proposed holding a special meeting of the Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee in India soon, which will exclusively focus on this issue and attempt to provide the way forward,” Tirumurti had said.
The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) was established in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. UNSC Resolution 1373 (2001) had established the Counter-Terrorism Committee as a subsidiary body of the Council.
On the eve of assuming Chair of the CTC in December last year, India had voted in favour of a resolution to renew the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).
The UN Security Council, through its written silence procedure, renewed the mandate of the Executive Directorate until December 31, 2025.
“As the Chair of the CTC for 2022, India will make determined efforts to further enhance the role of the CTC in strengthening the multilateral response to counter-terrorism, and more importantly, ensuring that global response to the threat of terrorism remains unambiguous, undivided and effective,” India had said in its explanation of vote to renew the CTED mandate.