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

By Ashok Bhan


State support is one of the major sources of political, ideological and financial support for terrorism. Certain countries support terrorists as part of their foreign policy. There must be a cost imposed upon countries that support terrorism. Organisations and individuals that try to create sympathy for terrorists must also be isolated. There can be no ifs and buts entertained in such matters. The world needs to unite against all kinds of overt and covert backing of terror.


The infrastructure used for cyber terrorism and online radicalisation is distributed while some entities also train the terrorists with weapons from remote locations as well as online resources. Communications, travel, logistics - there are many links in the chain in different countries. Terrorists should not be allowed to misuse differences in legal principles, procedures and processes in different countries. This can be prevented through deeper coordination and understanding between governments. Joint operations, intelligence coordination and extradition help the fight against terror.


As scholar and author Sushant Sareen has said in the context of Jammu and Kashmir that on one hand thousands of people have died, families and properties destroyed, and an entire society traumatised, the one set of people who have prospered beyond their wildest imagination is the separatist mafia. The huge fortunes built by separatists and terrorists in Kashmir are one of the worst-kept secrets in Kashmir. Over the years, Kashmir has been transformed into a war economy, which needs to be dismantled.


For decades, the focus of the Indian security establishment in hotspots around the country has been more on seizing weapons than on cracking down on the funding networks. While in the West, security agencies followed the money to bust criminal syndicates and terror networks, in India the thinking was that the problem wasn't the money but the munitions. Unfortunately, elements in the Indian security establishment have also contributed to the separatist entrepreneurship in Kashmir by plying the separatists with huge amounts of money in the fond hope of weaning them away from Pakistan and eventually winning them over - the former Intelligence Bureau chief in Kashmir and later Research & Analysis Wing chief, A S Dulat, has admitted as much in his book on Kashmir. Essentially what this meant was that the separatists raked in the moolah from all sides - India, Pakistan, within Kashmir, foreign donors, and so forth.


Fortunately, there has been a policy change in New Delhi over the past few years. The trigger for the policy change appears to have been the remarkable sting operation carried out by intrepid reporters of India Today TV who exposed the shenanigans of the merchants of death in the Valley. The outcry after the expose probably gave the government the justification it needed for strangulating the funding of the separatists and terrorists.