January 2023 \ News \ Special Report
Choking terror funding need of the hour (Opinion)

By Ashok Bhan

Terrorist attacks are highly responsive to funding availability, and financial counter-terrorism can therefore be effective in reducing terrorism casualties, according to research conducted by Nicola Limodio, Assistant Professor of Finance at Bocconi University Visiting Fellow at the Economics Department and the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance at Princeton University.


Everyone knows that terrorists need money and other assets, for weapons, training, travel and accommodation to plan and execute their attacks and develop an organization. Disrupting and preventing terrorist-related financial flows and transactions is one of the effective ways to fight terrorism. Not only can it prevent future attacks by disrupting their material support, but the footprint of their purchases, withdrawals and other financial transactions can also provide valuable information for ongoing investigations.


Without destroying the war economy in Kashmir, bringing peace to the troubled Indian state will remain a pipedream. Former Commandant of the BSF and researcher N S Jamwal estimates that Pakistan spends around $5 million annually (Rs 24 crore) to sustain militancy in Kashmir while India's expenditure on counter-insurgency operations (CI-OPS) is around $1.46 billion annually (Rs. 730 crore). These figures are an indication of how every dollar spent on terrorist activities necessitates a financial commitment several orders of magnitude on counter-intelligence and physical expenditures in the target country. He is of the view that financing terrorism in J&K costs no more than $70-80 million annually, i.e., Rs 400-500 crore.


The need and importance for blocking finances to terrorist organizations were outlined and emphasized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Home Minster recently while addressing a conference 'No Money for Terror' (NMFT) Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Financing in New Delhi recently. The two-day conference which was organised on 18th-19th November was a unique platform for participating nations and organisations to deliberate on the effectiveness of the current international regime on Counter Terrorism Financing and the steps required to address emerging challenges.


It was concluded in the conference that countering terrorism financing is an essential part of the global fight against the terror threat. As terrorists and terror groups continue to raise money with the use of various means, countries must make it a priority to understand the risks they face from terrorist financing and develop a policy response to all aspects of it.