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SOURCE: PTI

India has evidence social media platforms are being used to raise terror funds, NIA Director-General Dinkar Gupta said Thursday, underlining that the issue will be deliberated during a two-day international ministerial conference on countering terror financing.

Addressing a press conference ahead of the meeting beginning Friday, Gupta also said Pakistan and Afghanistan were not participating in the conference, while China was yet to confirm. The third ‘No Money for Terror Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Financing’ hosted by the Ministry of Home Affairs will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, among others.

Asked if Pakistan, China and Afghanistan were invited to the conference, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, Sanjay Verma said, “China has been invited.” He, however, remained silent on the other two neighbouring countries.

Giving details of the conference, Gupta made it clear that no country-specific discussion is part of the agenda but representatives of 73 nations, including ministers of over 20 of them, will discuss with an open heart all issues, be it the source of terror, the threat or its funding.

“Every participating country has full right to express its views,” he said.

Gupta said terror activities have declined in India during the last eight years, and there is a “huge reduction” in terror activities in all “theatres of conflicts”, be it Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, the northeast or the areas affected by Left Wing Extremism.

He said it was a battle to be fought, and the country has to strengthen its infrastructure, mechanisms, and frameworks to fight this menace of global terrorism and its financing.

To a question on the inclusion of social media platform regulation in the agenda of the terror financing conference, Gupta said social media platforms are being used to raise financing, funding or as crowdfunding platforms.

“We do have evidence of this kind of thing happening. This is an issue that needs to be discussed because such platforms are being used for raising finances which are being used in terror activities,” he said.

The Director-General said terror financing was a critical issue and it needed to be discussed, be it the traditional modes of funding terror activities like hawala, wire transfers or cash couriers, or the new ways that are developing.

He said the conference comes “back to back” after the recently held Interpol General Assembly and the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee meetings in India.

The DG said all major countries and international organisations like Interpol and Europol were participating in the conference.

Gupta said the conference would have four sessions — ‘Global Trends in Terrorism and Terrorist Financing’, ‘Use of Formal and Informal Channels of Funds for Terrorism’, ‘Emerging Technologies and Terrorist Financing’, and ‘International Co-operation to Address Challenges in Combating Terrorist Financing.

The sessions will be chaired by senior ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

“The two-day conference organised on 18th-19th November will offer a unique platform for participating nations and organisations to deliberate on effectiveness of the current international regime on counter terrorism financing as well as steps required to address emerging challenges,” an official statement said.

The conference will build on the previous two meetings held in Paris in April 2018 and Melbourne in November 2019, and work towards enhancing global cooperation to deny finances to terrorists and access to permissive jurisdictions to operate, it said.

The event will be attended by about 450 delegates from across the world, including ministers, heads of multilateral organisations and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) heads of delegations.