Opinion

What is Terror Funding? How India has been affected by it?

Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a financial, political, religious or ideological aim. Terrorist Financing means providing funds for Terrorist Activity to carry out their atrocities, money for weapons, for supplies to make explosives, for travel. Terrorist Funding is raised from legitimate sources, such as personal donations and profits from businesses and charitable organizations, as well as from criminal sources, such as the drug trade, the smuggling of weapons and other goods, fraud, kidnapping and extortion.

Terrorists use techniques like those of money launderers to evade authorities’ attention and to protect the identity of their sponsors and of the ultimate beneficiaries of the funds. To move their funds, terrorists use the formal banking system, informal value-transfer systems, Hawalas and Hundis and, the oldest method of asset-transfer, the physical transportation of cash, gold and other valuables through smuggling routes.

All Government and UN maintain a list of terrorist organizations they need to prevent funding being used to finance those organizations.  Eg has Germany banned IHH an organization in the guise of humanitarian aid which was linked to Hamas a Terrorist Organisation. In the same way, America, EU, India and other Countries have banned numerous organization who are a threat to their internal peace and security.

The Terror Funding effect on India is old, severe and ongoing. In India, we have ethno-nationalist terrorism, religious terrorism, left-wing terrorism and narco-terrorism. India has been a victim of Terror Funding. We have Cross-Border Funding coming from Pakistan ISI which is supplying fake currency from Bangladesh and Nepal. An investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) proved funds generated from Dubai and Saudi Arabia are regularly routed to the Kashmir Valley with the help of ISI and its network of Hawala conduits in India and ISI officials based in Rawalpindi to finance the bloodbath in the strife-torn state.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI, which has a vast fundraising network in the UAE and other West Asian countries, grows without any hindrance despite global pressure on the nation to choke terror funding. The NIA probe also revealed that the ISI has established a Kashmir Committee within their intelligence set up, which is headed by a Brigadier-level officer. This special unit is responsible for strategic planning, fundraising, recruiting and training militants of terrorist organizations belonging to the United Jihad Council. Recently NIA busted All Parties Hurriyat Conference convener Ghulam Mohammad Safi and advocate Parvez Ahmad, both based in Pakistan, have emerged as key figures in the cross-border confidential communication link the ISI established with separatists in J&K to wage war against India.

NIA has indicted Pakistan high commission here for providing funds to separatist leaders and giving visas to children and relatives of militants to study in the hostile neighbouring country. The special NIA court has taken cognisance of the charge-sheet against a dozen accused, including Pak-based heads of banned Lashkare-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, respectively.

Another factor to note is Terror cash generated by the sale of third-party goods, under-weighing, under-invoicing, large-scale dealings in cash and committing irregularities in maintenance of records. This modus operandi leads to a generation of huge cash surpluses on the Indian side, which are then channelled through several formal banking channels, as well as, cash couriers and Hawala dealers to the separatists. Besides, the network is also heavily dependent on local donations to operate terror cells in the Kashmir valley.

In July 2016, Government of India released data on a string of terror strikes in India since 2005 that claimed 707 lives and leftover 3,200 injured. Some of the noted attacks are 2001 India Parliament Attack, 2000 Church Bombings, Attack on Akshardham Temple in 2002, 2001 Attack on Charar-e-Sharief Mosque, 2006 Mumbai Train Bombings, 2008 Assam Bombings, 2013 Bodhgaya Bombings, 2013 Maoist Attack in Dumka, 2014 Church street Blast in Bangalore, 2016 Pathankot, Uri, Baramulla Attack, 2017 Amarnath Yatra Attack and more.

At last, one can say that with terrorist attacks in many cities across the world and in India the terrorist threat posed by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), and by Al-Qaeda and their affiliated terrorist organizations, Maoists, Ethnic Groups are becoming more significant. A Concerted action urgently needs to be taken to strengthen global counter-terrorist financing regimes to combat the financing of these serious terrorist threats and contribute to strengthening the financial and economic system, and security. The Action of The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system and putting Pakistan under the list can give peace in South Asia, Middle East and the World at large.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NEWSD and NEWSD does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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TS Chandrashekar is the Deputy Director of a state-funded trade organisation.

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