India today welcomed the creation a UN office on counter terrorism, saying the “much- awaited” step will align the world body with the changed needs and international reality in the fight against terrorism. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution here to establish a United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressing hope that this reform of the UN counter-terrorism architecture will contribute to the world body’s broader efforts to promote conflict prevention, sustainable peace and development. Welcoming the creation of the new UN office, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said the unanimous action by the General Assembly on the issue demonstrates the importance the member-states place on collective and coordinated action on terrorism, which remains the most complex threat faced by the international community.
“India believes that the creation of the Office of Counter Terrorism Coordinator is a much awaited first step in our efforts to enhance coordination of the UN’s CT (counter- terrorism) efforts,” Akbaruddin said in the General Assembly. “It will align the UN with the changed global reality and needs of the international community” as was articulated by the secretary-general himself in Kabul where he referred to the reform and said that support to terrorism entails a high price. Addressing reporters in Kabul, Guterres had warned that any country that supports terrorism anywhere in the world in relation to other countries, “sooner or later the price paid will be high in relations to terrorism within the country itself.”
Akbaruddin said terrorist organisations are not bound by the borders, norms, legal frameworks and bureaucratic inertia that bind nations as member states and the UN at all levels. “While Terrorist networks use modern platforms such as social media, cyber space and exist in parallel worlds alongside us in hidden trans-national networks, we cannot work in silos created either by boundaries or bureaucracy,” he said. Akbaruddin underscored that there was never a stronger case today for more multilateral action, coordination and cooperation on any matter amongst all stakeholders than on terrorism.
He noted that an all of UN approach and a certain convening power on counter-terrorism issues will be crucial for the new office to fulfill its functions effectively. “The office should not only engage member states at a higher political level but also cooperate with other international organizations dealing with issues relating to terrorism for fulfilling its mandate effectively,” he said adding that it is important to build the UN narrative on counter terrorism for the ordinary people who are threatened by this scourge.
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A statement issued by Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the Secretary-General considers counter- terrorism and prevention of violent extremism to be one of the highest priorities of the United Nations to address a growing threat to international peace and security. “The secretary-general expects the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre within the new Office of Counter- Terrorism to play a central role in the provision of enhanced capacity building assistance to member-states,” the statement added.
India had repeatedly stressed on the need for “coherence and coordination” at the UN in dealing with terrorism. It had lamented that as many as 31 entities within the United Nations deal with some aspect of countering terrorism, calling it a case of “too many cooks spoil the broth.”