Social media platforms are turning into powerful instruments in the ‘toolbox’ of terrorist groups: EAM Jaishankar


Press Trust of India

New Delhi: India on Saturday launched concerted global efforts to end possible misuse of new technologies such as encrypted messaging and cryptocurrency by “non-state actors”, and warned that media platforms have become powerful instruments in the “toolbox” of terrorist groups.

In an address to a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said that terrorist groups, their “ideological traveling companions” and the “lone wolf” attackers had vastly improved abilities by accessing new technologies.

He also said the UN terrorism sanctions regime has been effective in warning countries that have turned terrorism into a “state-sponsored enterprise”, seen as an apparent benchmark to Pakistan.

Representatives of the 15 member countries of the UN Security Council are attending the second day of the meeting, which is taking place in Delhi. The first day’s events took place in Mumbai.

Reaffirming India’s commitment to combating terrorism, the Foreign Minister also announced that New Delhi would make a voluntary contribution of half a million dollars this year to the United Nations Trust Fund for fight against terrorism.

In his remarks, Jaishankar said that technological innovations over the past two decades have transformed the way the world works and that 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 range of economic and social benefits.

However, he said there is a downside to this, especially when it comes to terrorism.

“These technologies have also posed new challenges for governments and regulators due to their potential vulnerability to misuse by non-state actors, given the very nature of some of these technologies and the regulatory environment nascent,” Jaishankar said.

“In recent years, terrorist groups, their ideological fellow travelers, especially in open and liberal societies, and ‘lone wolf’ attackers have greatly enhanced their capabilities by gaining access to these technologies,” he added.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that these forces use technology and money, and above all the ethics of open societies, to attack freedom, tolerance and progress.

“Internet and social media platforms have become powerful instruments in the toolbox of terrorist and militant groups to spread propaganda, radicalization and conspiracy theories aimed at destabilizing societies,” he said. .

“Another addition to existing concerns for governments around the world is the use of unmanned aerial systems by terrorist groups and organized criminal networks,” he said.

Jaishankar noted that the “misuse” of these unmanned aerial platforms for nefarious purposes by terrorist groups such as delivery of weapons and explosives and to carry out targeted attacks has become an “imminent danger”. .

“So they are a challenge for security agencies around the world. The possibilities of using armed drones for terrorist purposes against strategic, infrastructure and commercial assets require serious attention from Member States,” he said.

This is the first time that the UN Security Council has held a meeting in any form in India.

Describing terrorism as “one of the most serious threats” to humanity, Jaishankar said the UN Security Council over the past two decades has developed an important architecture, built mainly around the regime. anti-terrorism sanctions, to combat the threat.

“It was very effective in warning countries that had turned terrorism into a state-funded business,” he said.

“Despite this, the threat of terrorism is only growing and spreading, particularly in Asia and Africa, as successive reports of the 1267 Sanctions Committee follow-up reports have highlighted,” he said. .

The Foreign Minister said that the holding of the special meeting of the UN Security Council in India is also the product of the fact that the fight against terrorism has become one of the main priorities during the current mandate of New Delhi within the supreme body.

Jaishankar called for a focused discussion in the Counter-Terrorism Committee to end the misuse of new and emerging technologies by terrorist groups.

He also referred to the use of technology by the terrorist networks that carried out the Mumbai attack on 11/26.

“Our experience has shown us how benign Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology could be used to stage and direct such a barbaric terrorist attack from outside our borders,” he said.

“More recently, these terrorist groups have used unmanned aerial platforms, such as drones and quadcopters for cross-border drug and arms smuggling and to carry out terrorist attacks,” he noted.

The External Affairs Minister has warned that these risks are not limited to India.

He said drones have been used by terrorist groups to monitor the movements of security forces and even UN peacekeepers in Africa.

“A few months ago, terrorists launched cross-border drone attacks against the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, resulting in deaths and injuries, including Indian nationals there. -down,” he said.

The minister reaffirmed India’s commitment to strengthening international counter-terrorism efforts, including countering the use of new and emerging technologies.

He said the “Delhi Declaration”, to be adopted at the meeting, will illustrate the commitment of the international community to confront the threat of the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.

“I am confident that today’s special meeting will be another important step for this Council to address the pressing issue, which requires urgent attention from the international community,” he said.

In addition to representatives of member countries of the UN Security Council, the meeting brings together global experts and relevant global agencies.


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