Highlighting Pakistan’s continuing patronage of terrorist organisations, National Security Advisor MK Narayanan told a gathering of major policy makers how terrorist groups continue to generate funds to destabilise India.
Speaking in Munich at the 43rd Conference on Security Policy, Narayanan, in a detailed exposition, said Pakistan continued to sponsor terrorist activities.
“The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toeba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Al-Badr (which operate in India) are well-patronised, including through provision of funds, by certain official agencies across the border,” Narayanan said.
“Shared objectives such as involvement in ‘Low Intensity Conflict’ provide the excuse for such official support. A tentative estimate of funds made available to such terrorist outfits annually is in the region of a few million dollars,” the NSA said.
“Conduits through which such funds find their way to terrorist organisations include established banking channels such as the Habib Bank in Pakistan,” he said, outlining how funds are transferred to terrorists operating against India.
Among those who attended the conference on February 10 and 11 were Russia's President Vladimir Putin, American Defence Secretary Robert Gates, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian National Security Chief Ali Larijani.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel inaugurated the two-day conference, attended by 250 top officials from over 40 countries.
Iran's nuclear issue was the underlying theme of this year's conference, with Putin saying, there is "no evidence" that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, while Merkel said the international community is "determined to prevent the threat posed by an Iranian military nuclear program."
Narayanan's focus on terrorism was significant given the Iranian backdrop.
"Undeniably," Narayanan said, "faith-based terrorism, which is sustained by strong external linkages and connectivity, is the defining global threat today. Intricate networking connects vast numbers of radical Islamist groups."
Concentrating on "perhaps the most vital aspect after penetration of these outfits"; Narayanan spoke of the need to reduce the flow of funds to terrorists. Besides state support and sponsorship of terrorist groups, he outlined more 'common methods' prevalent in South Asia.
These include voluntary contributions, from individuals, members of expatriate communities and organizations and forced or compulsory donations on special occasions such as religious festivals.
"Compulsory subscriptions to pro-terrorist publications have laterally become an important avenue for generation of funds," he said, citing the Lashkar-e Toeba's monthly magazine, 'Majalah-al-Dawana' and weekly magazine, 'Al Ghazwa' as major examples.
Extortion and use of coercive methods, association with criminal syndicates (to "outsource" fund raising), siphoning off a part of the proceeds of some legitimate business enterprises, like restaurants, real estate and shipping, and some manipulation of stock markets to raise funds for their operations are finding favour among jehadi and terrorist groups, he said.
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