‘Eliminate Safe Havens For Terrorists’: PM Modi At Interpol Meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said said terrorism is not limited to physical space and has spread its presence through online radicalization and cyber threats.

PM Narendra Modi

Calling the global community to work faster to "eliminate safe havens" for terrorists, criminals and the corrupt, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said when the "forces of good cooperate, the forces of crime cannot operate".

Inaugurating the 90th General Assembly of Interpol, the prime minister warned about the harmful globalised threats that the world faces -- terrorism, corruption, drug trafficking, poaching and organised crime.

"The pace of change of these dangers is faster than earlier. When threats are global, the response cannot be just local! It is high time that the world comes together to defeat these threats," Modi said.

The prime minister released a commemorative postage stamp and a Rs 100 coin to mark the 90th General Assembly. He was welcomed at the venue by Home Minister Amit Shah, Interpol President Ahmed Naser Al Raisi and Secretary General Jurgen Stock.

Prime Minister Modi was introduced to the Executive Committee by the Interpol president.

In his address to the gathering of 195 member countries of Interpol which included a delegation of Pakistan led by its Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Mohsin Butt, the prime minister said India has been combating trans-national terrorism for several decades.

"Long before the world woke up to it, we knew the price of safety and security. Thousands of our people made the ultimate sacrifice in this fight," he said.

He said a safe and secure world is a shared responsibility of the global community.

"When the forces of good cooperate, the forces of crime cannot operate," he said.

He said there can be no safe havens for the corrupt, terrorists, drug cartels, poaching gangs or organised crime. 

"Such crimes against people in one place are crimes against everyone, crimes against humanity. Further, these not only harm our present but also impact our future generations. Police and law enforcement agencies need to devise procedures and protocols to increase cooperation. Interpol can help by speeding up Red Corner Notices for fugitive offenders," he said.

India has 780 active Red Notices as of now, of which 205 are related to criminals wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

In his 14-minute speech, the prime minister said terrorism is not limited to physical space and has spread its presence through online radicalization and cyber threats.

"At the click of a button, an attack can be executed or systems can be brought to their knees. Each nation is working on strategies against them. But what we do within our borders is no longer enough. There is a need to further develop international strategies.

"Establishment of early detection and warning systems, protecting transportation services, security for communication infrastructure, security for critical infrastructure, technical and technological assistance, intelligence exchange, many of these things need to be taken to a new level," he said.

The prime minister said corruption and financial crimes have harmed the welfare of the citizens of many countries.

"The corrupt find a way to park the proceeds of crime in different parts of the world. This money belongs to the citizens of the country from which they have been taken. Often, this has been taken from some of the poorest people in the world," he said.

He said such illicit money is pushed into evil activities and becomes one of the major sources of terror funding. 

"From illegal drugs that destroy young lives to human trafficking, from weakening democracies to the sale of illegal arms, this dirty money funds many destructive enterprises. Yes, there are diverse legal and procedural frameworks to deal with them. However, there is a need for the global community to work even faster to eliminate safe havens," the prime minister said.

Underlining India's forces for global causes, the prime minister said from climate targets to COVID-19 vaccines, India has shown willingness to take the lead in any kind of crisis. 

"And now, at a time when nations and societies are becoming inward-looking, India calls for more, not less, international cooperation. Global cooperation for local welfare – is our call," he said.

India is hosting the Interpol General Assembly after a gap of about 25 years to coincide with celebrations for the 75th year of India's independence.

The proposal in this regard was conveyed by Home Minister Amit Shah to Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock during his visit to India in 2019. The proposal was put to vote in the last General Assembly which was accepted with an overwhelming majority.

(With PTI inputs)