Key UNSC counter-terrorism committee meeting in Mumbai a ‘tribute and statement’ to horrific 26/11 attacks: Amb Kamboj

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United Nations:  A key meeting of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee in Mumbai later this month will be a “tribute and statement” to the horrific 26/11 terror attacks and members of the powerful UN organ will place a wreath in memory of the victims of the attack, Committee Chair Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj has said.

India is currently the Chair of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee for the year 2022 and will host diplomats of the 15-nation UN body along with other member states for a special meeting in Mumbai and New Delhi on October 28-29 to focus on new and emerging technologies.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Kamboj, in her capacity as Chair of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, told reporters at a press briefing on Friday that the “very fact that the Special Committee is also meeting in Mumbai, that in itself will be a tribute and a statement to the horrific incident that happened in Mumbai,” referring to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba that killed more than 160 people.

She said Committee members will also place a memorial wreath at the “very spot where this incident happened in tribute and in memorial.”

India’s two-year tenure as an elected non-permanent member of the 15-nation UN Security Council will end in December this year. India will also preside as President of the powerful UN organ in December.

Current members of the Security Council are Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway and UAE, along with five permanent members China, France, Russia, the UK and the US. When asked at the press briefing about participation from other UN member states in the special meeting, Kamboj said “there’s a very sizable number.”

“It’s going to be a very healthy corpus because… terrorism is no longer an issue faced by any particular country. It is a transnational issue,” she said, adding that it needs joint efforts and “that is precisely why I think this special meeting is evincing a huge amount of interest.”

Kamboj was joined by the Director and Chief of Technical Expertise and Research Branch of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) David Scharia and Legal Officer and the CTED Coordinator for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Jennifer Bramlette at the briefing.

Kamboj said an outcome document is expected after the special meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee.

She stressed that terrorist threats persist and despite efforts by the international community, the “threat has survived and indeed evolved. With the growing prevalence of technology and the rapid rise in digitisation, addressing the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes is of increasing concern to all of us,” she said, adding that the meeting will bring together a “wealth of knowledge” and real-world expertise on the subject matter with the participation of member states, relevant operational partners and key stakeholders.

She reaffirmed that terrorism in all forms, in all manifestations, constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and any act of terrorism is criminal and unjustifiable regardless of motivation, whenever wherever and by whomsoever committed.

The Special Meeting of the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee on “Countering the Use of New and Emerging Technologies for Terrorist Purposes” will begin with a soft opening and associated events in Mumbai, India on October 28 and continue with a full-day meeting in New Delhi, India on October 29, according to information on the UN website.

The Special Meeting will specifically focus on three significant areas where emerging technologies are experiencing rapid development, growing used by Member States (including for security and counter-terrorism purposes), and the increasing threat of abuse for terrorism purposes, namely the Internet and social media, terrorism financing, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

It will provide opportunities to discuss existing and evolving threats, the deployment of new and emerging technology to counter those threats, continuing challenges and good practices, and a range of related human rights and gender considerations.

“With the prevalence of technology and the rapid rise in digitisation, the use of new and emerging technologies to counter-terrorism is a topic of growing interest among the member states, policymakers and researchers, particularly in the context of the increasing role played by technology in terrorism and counter-terrorism.

This is addressed by the Security Council in a number of counter-terrorism-related resolutions, most recently resolution 2617 (2021), which explicitly cited “emerging technologies”. Mindful of the increasing threat posed by the misuse of new and emerging technologies, the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee has decided to hold a Special Meeting on this theme, with the support of its Executive Directorate (CTED),” it said.

It is not very frequent that the Counter-Terrorism Committee meets outside of New York but the meeting in India will be the seventh time that this is happening. The most recent special meeting of the CTC outside of the United Nations headquarters took place in Madrid, Spain, in July 2015, focusing on foreign terrorist fighters.

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