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Vikas Chandra asked: In which committee of the General Assembly was the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy negotiated? What was India's approach during negotiations and thereafter?

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  • Arpita Anant replies: At the United Nations (UN), discussions on the subject of terrorism that are in public domain take place mainly in the General Assembly and the Security Council. There are several discussions especially in the Security Council that take place behind closed doors. Discussions related to terrorism are held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly under the heading “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism”. The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was adopted by the General Assembly, vide resolution A/RES/60/288, in September 2006. A commitment to adopt this strategy was taken at the annual UN Summit in September 2005. Following this, the Secretary General prepared a report titled “Uniting against Terrorism: Recommendations for a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy” in May 2006. The Strategy is reviewed every two years.

    India supported and joined the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly in September 2006. Following the adoption of the Strategy, member states envisaged a set-up to assist with strengthening of the counter terrorism apparatus in individual countries. In 2009, India became a co-sponsor of a resolution proposed by Argentina, Austria, Burkina Faso, Croatia and Pakistan on institutionalisation of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force as part of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

    India has participated in the reviews held every two years and has made suggestions for strengthening not only the global narrative but also actual measures to counter terrorism. India has also pitched for the need to adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that it had proposed in 1996. In the discussions on the adoption of a resolution on Culture of Peace to combat violent extremism, held on the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Strategy, India appreciated the direct approach of dealing with the problem rather than getting into theological debates about the definition of extremism. But it also pointed to some limits of the plan, namely, that the plan offered little help to countries in countering violent extremism, that there was no single point of contact for requesting such assistance, and that it did not state clearly that terrorism cannot be justified for any reason. India also suggested the creation of a single office to coordinate the work of the 40 UN agencies engaged in counter-terrorism related work in the UN system.

    A resolution for setting up the Office of Counter-Terrorism to help countries in building capacities for countering radicalism was adopted in 2017 and the office was created in 2018. The office now oversees the working of the Strategy. Also, the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force was replaced by the UN Global Counter Terrorism Coordination Compact. India has expressed its support for the new set-up.

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.

    Posted on October 14, 2019