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India in Global Governance: Engaging the Counter-Terrorism Regime

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  • May 22, 2015
    Fellows' Seminar
    1030 to 1300 hrs

    Chair: Mr. G. K. Pillai
    External Discussants: Dr. Suresh K. Goel and Dr. Rana Banerji
    Internal Discussants: Dr. Vinod Kumar and Dr. Saurabh Mishra


    The paper focuses on the counter-terrorism regime and highlights that there is a gap in the literature in demonstrating India’s evolving role in the norm building process of this regime. In the paper the author focuses on the post-Cold War period and uses the counter-terrorism regime as a case-study to assess whether India’s engagement has been substantial to the global governance of counter-terrorism. There have been studies of India’s role in the counter-terrorism regime but they all focus on the years after the 9/11 incident. However, Dr. Anant argues that India has been very active and constructive with its engagement with counter-terrorism regime since much earlier. Some examples of India’s constructive contribution in the counter-terrorism regime were:

    • India had played an important role in the drafting of the General Assembly Resolution 40/6 in 1987. India firmly believed that the underlying causes have to be mitigated in order to end the menace of terrorism. India also recognized the difference between terrorism and movements of self-determination and at the same time was wary of terrorism perpetrated by mercenaries with a view to undermining territorial integrity.
    • In 1991, speaking on the subject of violence related to movements of national liberation, India held on to its pre-Cold War position that it recognized the right of self defence of legitimate national liberation movements.
    • With regard to terrorism and human rights, after the Declaration of Human Rights in 1993, India in this context, while referring to Pakistan’s involvement in the 1993 Mumbai attacks, in a country report on human rights in the Third Committee of General Assembly in 1993, said that terrorism was the greatest impediment to the realization of human rights.
    • At the plenary of the General Assembly in 1995, India was critical of United Nations doing nothing to defend democracies from extremists and other violent threats.
    • After the adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings in 1997, India pushed the General Assembly to fulfill the commitment made in Resolution 51/210 and set up an Ad Hoc Committee to first adopt an international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism and, then a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.

    The paper highlights that India played a crucial role in sponsoring and supporting many resolutions on counter-terrorism in the post-Cold War period. For example:

    • In 1996, India tabled the Draft International Convention on Suppression of Terrorism in the General Assembly, which aimed to deal with state support to terrorism. India was much ahead of developed states in pointing out the menace of state sponsored terrorism.
    • In 1997, India co-sponsored a draft resolution on Human Rights and Terrorism, which was adopted in 1999.
    • India was the lone country that voted against paragraphs 10 and 11 in the debate of Draft resolution A/C.3/58/L.71: Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism in 2003, which made no reference to violation of human rights by terrorists.
    • In 2000, the General Assembly took up for discussion India’s Draft Comprehensive Convention of International Terrorism.
    • In 2002, India co-sponsored the Draft Resolution on Hostage Taking and introduced the resolution on Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction in the General Assembly.
      And in 2006, India supported and joined the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Adopted by the General Assembly.

    Also, India has been regular in its commitment to the counter-terrorism regime by submitting reports to the concerned UN committees regarding the action it has taken at the national and international levels to curb the menace of terrorism. India has also been vocal in pointing out the problems of non-compliance with anti-terrorism conventions and has urged that a way be found to punish states that abet terrorism. India has made suggestions to make the Counter-Terrorism Committee more effective and accountable through getting more feedback from countries, increase in interaction between countries and seeking reports to identify violations. Based on all this, Dr. Anant concludes that India has gone much beyond using existing systems to highlight its concerns regarding international terrorism and the evidence adduced above reiterates the fact that India has been a constructive player in the multilateral counter-terrorism regime.


    • It is important to mention how the Indian government’s position and thinking has changed over the years on the issue of terrorism and how this has been shown through our engagement at the international level.
    • Highlighting the difference in the understanding of terrorism and which definition does India support is important.
    • Domestic imperative for international suggestions by India has to be mentioned.
    • Receptivity to India’s responses with regards to international financing mechanisms of terrorism should be considered.
    • International monitoring and how India is coping with it internally is of significance.
    • Politics of regime building, partnership and structural review of the regime should be mentioned as part of the argument.
    • Contextualization of global and internal terrorism and a link between the two have to be established.
    • A watershed event has to be mentioned to show the changes in India’s approach to terrorism at the international level.
    • Reasons for the failure to build coalitions on terrorism for furthering India’s national interest should be considered.
    • Policy recommendations on how India should form coalitions so it can put its view across at the international level should be analyzed.
    • Politics of compliance and the role of powerful nations should be considered and how has India contributed tobettering compliance among nations should also be included.
    • India’s role as norm taker or norm maker should be clearly identified.
    • Support by other countries for India at the counter-terrorism regime should be mentioned and also it is important to indicate as to which group India belongs to at the international level.

    (This report has been prepared by Ms. Kuhoo Saxena, Research Intern, IDSA)