Exploitation of Internet by Terrorists, India Calls for Action

India has called for changes to the management of the internet infrastructure to prevent terrorists from exploiting it by pointing fingers to the use of internet technologies during the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack.

While speaking to the UN Security Council on Wednesday during a marathon session on international cooperation to combat terrorism, India’s UN Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji drew attention to the increasingly sophisticated use of technology and communications to commit ever more barbaric acts of terrorism.

Recalling the Mumbai attack, Mukerji said, “This was the first time that we confronted the use of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to direct terrorist acts. We believe that if we are serious about countering this challenge in an effective manner, we must agree on necessary adjustments to be made in the way the global Internet infrastructure is currently managed in order to counter the exploitation of the Internet by terrorists.”

Mukerji also urged the Council to “add its collective voice” for the early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that would legally compel countries to either prosecute or extradite terrorists.

The drafting of the convention is now languishing in the UN General Assembly’s legal committee which is deadlocked over defining terrorism. The Council’s discussions took place against the backdrop of revelations those more than 15,000 foreign fighters from over 80 countries, including many in Europe, had joined terrorist organisations in Syria, Iraq and neighbouring countries.

In the session presided over by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, delegates from more than 60 countries have participated. Canadian Deputy Permanent Representative Michael Douglas Grant referred to the 2008 Mumbai attack in India six years ago and said it demonstrated how violent extremism could become even more dangerous when backed by the capacities of a sovereign state.

However, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Masood Khan asserted that his country’s “experience is that there should be zero tolerance for terrorists and violent extremists”. For that reason, he said Pakistan has been carrying out a “counter-terrorist operation to take out terrorists, to dismantle their networks, to staunch their flow inside and outside borders, and to destroy their support system.”

In a statement issued on behalf of the Council, Bishop referred to the use of technology by terrorists and said countries should oppose violent extremist propaganda on the internet and social media by developing effective counter-narratives and work with civil society organisations and the private sector to accomplish this.

(With inputs from IANS)

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