General Assembly General Assembly

Statement by

Mrs Rina Mitra

 Special Secretary, Internal Security

At the

UN High Level Conference on

Heads of Counter Terrorism Agencies

28-29 June 2018


Thank you Chair,


We welcome the initiative of the UN Secretary General to convene this meeting of Heads of Counter Terrorism agencies.


2.           This comes within a year of another significant initiative by the UNSG to establish the Office of Counter Terrorism, which we hope will contribute to a consolidation of the efforts by the UN system in this field.


3.            Within a few decades, terrorism has morphed into a global threat.


4.           No country can be considered safe from terrorist acts. Today, terrorist entities have links and operate across borders building networks; raising funds in various ways including internationally; propagating their ideologies of hate; recruiting from foreign lands; sourcing arms and weapons from distant providers and smugglers; exploit modern communication technologies that dissolve distances. They are able to select targets of their choosing in countries of their choosing; cross borders often with help from state agencies; and inflict terror on innocent peoples.


5.            They are able to do this because nation states still struggle to collaborate with their partners and neighbours on countering activities of terror networks, often due to narrow political considerations. Worse, there are well known instances of some states using terror entities for their political ends, providing them with safe havens and other support.


6.           Because of the nature of this threat, it can only be effectively tackled if there is genuine collaboration among nations.




7.            At a practical level, over the past seven decades, some international treaties have elicited international collaboration on specific kinds of terrorist threats, for instance focusing against hijacking of aircrafts or financing of terrorism.


8.           The last two decades have witnessed a growing trend of closer bilateral and regional collaborative efforts among select partners on exchange of information and capacity building for counter terrorism.


9.           There are also fora such as the Interpol and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that have wide membership involving various stakeholders and do commendable work.


10.         However, a more comprehensive approach, as embodied in the proposed Convention on Countering International Terrorism that is required in tackling the contemporary form of terrorism that is evolving all the time continues to elude us.


11.         At the United Nations, over the last two decades, some practical steps to counter terrorism have been mandated by the UN Security Council through its establishment of specific Sanctions Committees.  These have had limited success.  Such efforts have also run into political difficulties due to differing strategic considerations of major powers.


12.         The Global Counter Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) being discussed by the UN General Assembly over the last decade has also had limited practical impact.


13.         This UN Conference of CT experts and practitioners is, therefore, timely.  We hope that this will start a serious exchange of practical ideas and push for a more coordinated approach to counter terrorism at a global level. We hope that this will also provide concrete suggestions for international collaboration. This will also help us discuss some of the emerging threats and challenges posed by international terrorism.





14.         India has had to face the scourge of terrorism, mostly originating outside our borders, increasingly over the last two decades. Our counter terrorism agencies have developed considerable expertise in preventing such attacks and bringing the perpetrators of such terror attacks to justice.


15.         Many of our efforts continue to be thwarted due to lack of international collaboration in respect of exchange of information and evidence or of extradition of the accused persons who are hiding outside our territory.



16.         We stand ready to work with partners to strengthen practical aspects relating to counter terrorism efforts. Such aspects are well known to all of us :   


  1. Designation of CT focal points for establishing a possible global network;


  1. Exchange of timely and actionable intelligence;


  1. Prevention of misuse of modern communication technologies and social media platforms including by working with private service providers;


  1. Building capacities for improved border controls, monitoring illicit financial flows, investigation procedures and judicial processes;


  1. Sharing of information relating to movement of passengers.





17.         In conclusion, we would again commend the organization of this Conference of Heads of Counter Terrorism agencies. It has provided a unique opportunity to exchange views among the entire UN membership.


18.         We are hopeful that this would lead to a strengthening of our collective resolve and efforts to meet the threat posed by terrorism.



Thank you.