India to set up Permanent Secretariat to counter terror financing

November 21, 2022 at 2:18 PM

India will set up a permanent secretariat to counter terror financing under the nascent construct of “No Money For Terror” (NMFT), a French initiative.

After two days of discussions in the national capital, India said it will soon circulate a paper on this initiative and hopes to get consensus. With this move, India hopes it would be able to plug loopholes that exit under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a body largely dominated by the P7 and Paris club.

“India has sensed the need for permanency of this unique initiative of NMFT in order to sustain the continued global focus on countering the financing of terrorism. Time is ripe for a permanent secretariat to be established,” Home Minister Amit Shah said in his concluding speech of the inter-ministerial conference of NMFT, adding that a proposal has been made to set it in India.

“The approach to fight terrorism should be based on five pillars – comprehensive monitoring framework involving cooperation, coordination, and collaboration among all intelligence and investigative agencies, the strategy of “Trace, Target, and Terminate”, to be adopted from low-level economic offences to more organised economic crimes, strengthening and harmonizing the legal structures related to terror finance,” Mr Shah said.

Recently, Pakistan was removed from the grey list of the FATF despite India’s concerns.

“FATF is a body that largely deals with money laundering, but we hope NMFT would be a cooperative body which would shape up and focus solely on issues related to counter financial terror and global terror issues,” a senior Home Ministry official told NDTV.

Despite the United Nations designating terrorists as global terrorists, it finds it difficult to implement sanctions imposed, so with this set-up India hopes the vacuum would be filled.

India having seen terrorism triggered by identity, religion and secessionism can play a lead role in this secretariat. “We are not only in a position to advise countries but we have also experience of dealing with such issues,” another officer said, adding this can be a larger body which could be much more sensitive to India’s needs.

“As of now, the structure of this organisation is unclear, but we hope we would be able to build consensus and soon open it for membership,” a senior Home Ministry officer said.

According to him, the new set-up would rather compliment the FATF and would be based on mutual evaluations and reviews. “It would be an annual thing from now on,” he said.

“It was a very good opportunity. As far as bilateral were concerned, at least two dozen bilateral were done at the ministry level,” an official said. (NDTV)