India on Wednesday called for increased cooperation between the Financial Action Task Force and the United Nations to eliminate terror financing, PTI reported. The task force is an international watchdog that works to disrupt terror financing networks.

In a veiled attack on Pakistan, India condemned direct or indirect financial assistance to terrorists and terror groups by nations that enable them to pursue their activities, including assistance in criminal cases against them. Last month, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed was allowed by one of UN’s three security council panels to withdraw money from his pension account for “necessary basic living expenses”.

The legal advisor of India’s United Nations Mission, Yedla Umasankar, told the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee that the international community should adopt and implement a policy of zero-tolerance towards terrorism.

He said inter-state efforts were required at regional and sub-regional levels to stop terrorists’ access to resources. “The FATF has a significant role in setting global standards for preventing and combating terrorist financing and the UN needs to increase cooperation with such bodies,” Umasankar added.

He stressed that India strongly believes terrorism can be countered through combined international efforts, and said United Nations was best suited for developing this transnational exercise. “The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy being discussed by the UN General Assembly over the last decade has resulted in little impact on the ground,” Umasankar added. “The Sanctions Committees established by the UN Security Council have become selective tools due to opaque working methods and politicised decision making.”

Umasankar reiterated India’s belief that the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism would provide a strong legal basis for the fight against terrorism. “The inability to agree on a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism remains one of the great gaps in the international legislative framework that would strengthen efforts to destroy safe havens for terrorists, their financial flows and their support networks,” he added. “We need to move forward in adopting the draft text of CCIT which is a balanced one and has emerged after long discussions.”

The Indian official said all countries were affected by terrorism, which has been recognised as a grave international concern at every major international gathering in recent years. “Terrorists exploit the civil liberties, religious tolerance and cultural diversity in our countries,” Umasankar added. “They seek to destroy the democratic fabric by fomenting sectarian divisions and cultural tensions and ultimately deprive us of that very freedom which they have exploited.”

He voiced India’s commitment to counter terrorism by exchanging information, building capacities for effective border controls, preventing misuse of modern technologies, monitoring illicit financial flows, and cooperating in investigation and judicial procedures.

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