The Director, Intelligence Bureau, Shri Dineshwar Sharma has asked the SAARC nations to strictly enforce internationally mandated sanctions against terrorist entities and individuals. In his opening remarks at the second Meeting of the High Level Group of Eminent Experts to strengthen the SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism, here today, Shri Sharma also called upon the eight member States to ratify and enable various Conventions enacted by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) grouping, including the Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and Additional Protocols and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.
Mentioning that the two-day meeting is being held at a time when all our countrymen and women are highly agitated over the terror strike at Uri in J&K, in which 18 of our brave soldiers achieved martyrdom and an equal number are battling for their lives, Shri Sharma said this incident is only one in a series of such dastardly acts during the last few decades for which planning, financing, training, arming and indoctrination on religious lines owe their origins to sources beyond the borders of India.
Stating that terrorism has emerged as a big challenge for the entire world, Shri Sharma said no country today is in a position to tackle this problem on its own. Close cooperation and sharing of real-time intelligence are, therefore, imperative for all of us to secure our countries and our peoples, he added.
Shri Sharma said the terrorist organisations use easily accessible technology to attack both soft and hard targets. Self-radicalisation over internet and social media, and spread of influence of Islamic State all over, including in our country, has added new dimensions to the threat, he added. Director, IB identified countering financing of terrorism as one of the most important tools to fight the terror menace. Similarly, Shri Sharma said, cyberspace has become an important area for radicalisation and spread of jihadi materials. Besides, the problem of fake currency feeds into supporting terrorism and can create economic destabilization in our region, he added.
Pointing out that the First Meeting on the SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism in February 2012 had stressed upon the need for immediate operationalization of the newly created SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk and SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk at Colombo for creating database which could be used by all members, Shri Sharma said not much progress seems to have taken place on this initiative. He also called upon the delegates to take up ‘Terror Financing and Money Laundering’ and ‘Cyber Crime’ as new agenda items.
Meeting of a High Level Group of Eminent Experts to strengthen the SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism was recommended by the SAARC Ministerial Declaration on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism (adopted by the 31st Meeting of SAARC Council of Ministers in Colombo, February 2009). India had hosted its first meeting in New Delhi from 9-10 February 2012.
Hosting the meeting for the second time, it is in line with the high priority India attaches for regional cooperation in Anti-Terrorism activities and given that terrorism remains the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond. The meeting provides a platform for discussing and identifying measures to tackle this menace threatening our societies