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India wants review of UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy after China blocks move to blacklist 2008 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind

India has repeatedly called upon Pakistan to bring perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to justice, saying the trial of the terror kingpins by Islamabad is an international obligation

A day after China blocked a joint India-US proposal for listing Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Sajid Mir – the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks – as a globally designated terrorist, India has said that it has “righteous reasons” to believe that something is “genuinely wrong” with the global counter-terrorism architecture.

The proposal did not get through the Global Listings of the UN Security Council Sanctions Regime despite several member states co-sponsoring it.

While addressing a high-level conference on counter-terrorism at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, Prakash Gupta, Joint Secretary of the United Nations Political Division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), spotlighted that even 15 years after the heinous Mumbai attacks, its masterminds have not yet been brought to justice and some of them continue to roam scot-free – with full state hospitality.

The Indian diplomat also played a recorded sound file of Mir directing the terrorists on the phone to hunt down foreigners at Mumbai’s Taj Hotel and kill them indiscriminately during the 2008 terror attacks.

“If we cannot get established terrorists who have been banned across global landscapes proscribed by the United Nations – for petty geopolitical interests – then we really do not have the genuine political will to sincerely fight this challenge of terrorism,” said Gupta.

Mir, who has been listed as a proscribed terrorist by India, the US, and several other countries, directed over the phone the 10 fully-armed assailants from Pakistan who were well-trained in conducting urban warfare and wreaked havoc in Mumbai for over three days in 2008, killing 166 innocents, including 26 foreigners.

“In this day and age of accountability and transparency, can we have genuine-listing proposals blocked without giving any reason for the same?” questioned Gupta.

Ironically, the UN Office for Counter-Terrorism in a special gesture on Monday, dedicated a tree at the North East lawns of the UN HQs to memory of victims of terrorism and invited a victim of the Mumbai terror attacks to share his story.

It was also during India’s Chairmanship of the UNSC Counter-Terrorism Committee, that the entire UN Security Council, visited Mumbai, and paid collective homage at the site of the attacks in October last year.

Gupta mentioned that while the 9/11 terror bombings in the iconic city of New York changed the landscape of the global counter-terror architecture, the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks shook the collective conscience of the world’s largest democracy.

“But regretfully justice still continues to elude the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks,” the diplomat remarked while highlighting that India has faced the brunt of terrorism from across the border for well over three decades, having lost thousands of innocent civilians as well as members of armed forces.

Listing some of the key shortcomings in the global counter-terror architecture, India said that the most critical gap remains to avoid double standards and the self-defeating justification of good terrorists vs bad terrorists.

“The first gap, we need to plug therefore, is in the Sanctions Regime itself, and see how do we improve its working methods to secure the successful listing of genuine and evidence-based objective listing proposals.”

New Delhi is hoping that the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) review is adopted in the UN General Assembly in order to tackle the scourge of terrorism.

“India proposed an 8-point action plan on Counter-Terrorism to the UN Security Council in early 2021. If we earnestly implement the 8-point action plan, we may perhaps avert another 9/11 of New York or 26/11 of Mumbai to happen again,” said Gupta.