Terror Funding Current Affairs - 2019

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National Coordination Center – A database of Maoists

The Government of India is planning to set up a National Coordination Center (NCC) that will function as a data bank of Maoists. It will act as a synergy point for anti – Maoist operations and intelligence gathering.

Key features of the NCC

  • It will create a strategy for security agencies to counter support received by the Maoist leaders. It will also control the sympathy gained or created by the Maoists in the social media
  • It will utilize knowledge of retired police officers who served in anti – Maoist operations in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh.
  • NCC will identify the sources of finance to the Maoists and work to neutralize the network

Maoism in India

  • The number of Maoist incidents was 500 in 1989. It has come down to 354 in 2018
  • The Geographical spread of Maoism has reduced in the last five years
  • In the last 10 years before 2018, the number of police stations affected with violence has come down to 250 from 465.

Main regions of Maoism

The most formidable strong hold of Maoism is southern areas of Chattisgarh, Andhra – Odisha border, parts of Jharkhand. In particular the three districts Bijapur, Sukma and Dantewada have strong hold of Maoists. South Sukma has encountered around 150 Maoist attacks.

The prospective base areas of Maoist leaders include Saranda forest, Parasnath hills, areas adjoining districts of Bihar.

Concerns of Maoism

  • Gaining the trust of the locals is the major challenge. The locals were killed mercilessly in public on mere suspicion of being alleged police informers.
  • The mobile towers in and around these areas are very less. This affects the flow of intelligence from the core areas to execute operations against the Maoists. In Bijapur district, there were only 50 towers for a combined area of 6,000 square kilometers.

Significance of NCC

  • Government takes measures to address the administrative vacuum which is the major challenge in addressing Maoism. Around 20 camps were established in South Bastar last year
  • The Andhra – Odisha border and some districts of Odisha are inaccessible. The continuous exploitation of inter – state boundaries by the Maoists is the major concern. The NCC will help to combat this exploitation.
  • The Center will work with the Indian Institute of IED Management to analyze various types of IEDs used by the Maoists.
  • Joint operations between the state police is also being suggested. This will help to concentrate on tri – junctions of the LWE affected states, especially in the borders. NCC will work towards achieving this goal
  • NCC will also help in real time information sharing, joint action and coordination among different states, etc.

Pakistan action against terror funding not satisfactory: Asia Pacific Policy Group

According to review by Asia Pacific Policy Group on Money Laundering (APPG), Pakistan’s recent action against terror financing, particularly on  legal front were found to be “unsatisfactory” despite it was placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list in February 2018 for failing to curb terror funding. APPG examines cases of all countries on the grey and black lists and reports to FATF.

APPG Review

It was held in September 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. It observed that Pakistan has not achieved much, especially on legal side (like freezing of assets, attachment of funds, militant groups infrastructures etc). It also reviewed Pakistan on its compliance with 26-point action plan, which it had submitted to FATF in Februarys 2018 to choke funding of militants groups.  Based on its observations, APPG will report the unsatisfactory performance by Pakistan to the FATF, at its plenary in Paris, France in October 2018. Another APPG review for Pakistan will be held in December 2018 following which final evaluation report will be prepared.

Comment

The development comes as major setback for newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was hoping that FAFT will be lenient in review given Pakistan’s commitment to 26-point action plan spanning over period of 15 months. Grey listing will squeeze Pakistan’s economy and make it harder to meet its mounting foreign financing needs, including potential future borrowings from IMF.

It will endanger Pakistan’s handful of remaining banking links to outside world, causing real financial pain to the economy. It will lead to downgrading of Pakistan’s debt ratings by international banking and credit rating agencies, making it more difficult to tap funds from international bond markets. It will also suspend international funds and aid to Pakistan such as Coalition Support Funds (CSF), money which US owes to Pakistan for military operations.

Background

The process to include Pakistan in list began in February 2018 when FATF approved nomination for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as Grey List. The resolution against Pakistan was moved by US which said that Pakistan is not doing enough to comply with anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering regulations. India also had lobbied hard with US for monitoring of Pakistan while highlighting funding of terrorist activities. Pakistan was on watch-list between 2012 and 2015 as well but then it was only for money laundering and not terror financing.

Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG)

It is FATF-style regional body for Asia-Pacific region. It is inter-governmental (international) organisation founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand. It consists of 41 member jurisdictions and number of observer jurisdictions and international/regional observer organisations. It is focused on ensuring that its members effectively implement international standards against money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing related to weapons of mass destruction.