In­dia urges world to adopt pact on ter­ror­ism

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Iftikhar Gi­lani correspondent@ dnain­dia. net

New Delhi: Co­in­cid­ing with ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj’s ad­dress at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly on Mon­day, In­dia is build­ing up a mo­men­tum once again to push for con­sen­sus amongst mem­ber coun­tries to adopt the Com­pre­hen­sive Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Ter­ror­ism ( CCIT), a draft of which, it had pro­posed way back in 1996, at the height of Kash­mir mil­i­tancy.

Con­firm­ing such a move also as part of In­dia’s strat­egy to iso­late Pak­istan in­ter­na­tion­ally, ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­istry spokesper­son Vikas Swarup said the CCIT would give “le­gal teeth to pros­e­cute ter­ror­ist acts”. He de­scribed ter­ror­ism the sin­gle- big­gest threat to in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity. In­dia’s am­bas­sador at the UN, Syed Ak­barud­din, even went fur­ther. He was quoted as say­ing that In­dia was con­sid­er­ing all op­tions, in­clud­ing forc­ing “vot­ing” on the CCIT. The vot­ing will force coun­tries to spell out their stands and ex­hibit se­ri­ous­ness and sin­cer­ity in com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism.

A vic­tim of ter­ror­ism for decades now, In­dia had long ago recog­nised the need for such a con­ven­tion.

For­mer chief of UN Peace Keep­ing Forces Lt Gen ( retd) Satish Nam­biar said long be­fore the more pow­er­ful coun­tries of the de­vel­oped world had be­gun to take cog­ni­sance of the threat, In­dia had pro­posed this draft with the aim to take a holis­tic ap­proach and col­lec­tive ac­tion to bring the per­pe­tra­tors of ter­ror­ism to jus­tice. The con­clu­sion and rat­i­fi­ca­tion of such a con­ven­tion by mem­ber states would bind them to ac­tion on the con­tents.

Over many years, since the draft was pro­posed, there has been op­po­si­tion from the three main blocs, the US, the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Is­lamic Coun­tries ( OIC) and the Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries. The most con­tentious part has been the def­i­ni­tion of ter­ror­ism that all 193- mem­bers of the UNGA will have to adopt into their own crim­i­nal law. Other pro­vi­sions will bind coun­tries to ban all ter­ror groups and shut down ter­ror camps re­gard­less of their stated ob­jec­tives, to pros­e­cute all ter­ror­ists un­der spe­cial laws, and to make cross- bor­der ter­ror­ism an ‘ ex­tra­ditable’ of­fence world­wide. In 2013, how­ever, mod­i­fi­ca­tions into the draft had ad­mit­ted the US con­cerns, which per­tained to state spon­sored ter­ror­ist acts. The US ap­pre­hended that it would fix its mil­i­tary forces in­volved in var­i­ous hu­man rights abuses in Afghanistan and Iraq. The new draft now says “the ac­tiv­i­ties of armed forces dur­ing an armed con­flict” will not be gov­erned by the present con­ven­tion. Even, though In­dia has tried to reach out to the OIC coun­tries bi­lat­er­ally to adopt the con­ven­tion, but there is con­cern of its im­pact on Is­raelPales­tine con­flict.

At the G20 Sum­mit, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi had par­tic­u­larly re­ferred to the pro­posed con­ven­tion, ask­ing the world to back its rat­i­fi­ca­tion and unite against ter­ror­ism. Swaraj’s ad­dress is likely to push to­wards stronger con­sen­sus to­wards the CCIT. Swarup also said “you can ex­pect a con­tin­ued fo­cus from In­dia on the theme of ter­ror­ism which is today un­doubt­edly the sin­gle big­gest chal­lenge to in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity.”

Swaraj is also ex­pected to give a sting­ing re­sponse to Pak­istan Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif ’ s speech at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, in which he fo­cused elab­o­rately on Kash­mir.

The CCIT draft is be­ing cur­rently dis­cussed at the Sixth Ad Hoc Com­mit­tee of the United Na­tions, set up by the Gen­eral Assem­bly to sup­ple­ment ex­ist­ing con­ven­tions against ter­ror­ism.

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