New Delhi: The corrupt, terrorists, drug cartels, poaching gangs, or coordinated crime cannot have any haven and Interpol can help by accelerating the process of issuing Red Corner Notices against offenders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday.
While delivering his address at the inaugural session of Interpol’s 90th General Assembly, Modi said, “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. The 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.”
Diplomats from 195 countries are participating in the three-day session that began Tuesday at Pragati Maidan. The session will discuss strategies for international cooperation on terrorism, drug trafficking, global crime syndicates, and child sex abuse offenses.
The PM’s assertion comes in the backdrop of Interpol refusing to issue a Red Corner Notice against Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The Canada-based chief of the prohibited organization Sikhs For Justice is wanted in several cases of terrorism registered by the National Investigation Agency.
Earlier Interpol rejected India’s request expressing that Indian authorities failed to provide sufficient information to support their case. Sources said the Interpol likewise flagged that UAPA, under which the Red Corner Notice was asked for, has been criticized for being “misused” to target minority groups and rights activists without “respecting” their right to due process and a fair trial.
On Tuesday, with delegates from Canada and Pakistan attending the event, the PM said, “Despite all the past successes, today, I want to remind the world about a few things. There are many harmful globalized threats that the world faces. Terrorism, corruption, drug trafficking, poaching, and organized 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 that India had been fighting transnational terrorism for several decades, long before the world awakened to the threat. He also specifically spoke about going after the corrupt and called corruption a “dangerous threat”.
“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 is 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,” he said.
Underlining that a safe and secure world is shared responsibility, the PM said, “It is no longer enough that terrorism is fought only in the physical space. It is now spreading 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.
Extolling the virtues of India’s democracy and its diversity, Modi said the Indian police had a tough task implementing more than 900 national and around 10,000 state laws.
He said Indian festivals, such as the Kumbh Mela, attract millions of pilgrims and police have to maintain order. “With all this, our police forces work while respecting the diversity and rights of the people promised by the Constitution. They not only protect the people but also serve our democracy. Take the scale of India’s free, fair and massive elections. Elections involve arrangements for around 900 million electors. This is close to the population of the North and South American continents taken together. About 2.3 million police personnel are deployed to help with the elections. In upholding diversity and democracy, India is a case study for the world,” he said.
Tending to the gathering, Interpol President Ahmed Naser Al Raisi of the UAE said the Interpol would work towards increasing cooperation among member countries, ensuring no member is too big or too small, having more transparency in functions, and having a staff that is as diverse as the member countries.
He, however, said, “Our organization must not be politicized. By remaining neutral and through transparency, we will strengthen our unity.”
He additionally urged the member countries to contribute to Interpol databases and also use them to fight crime. He said only 68 countries had contributed to the international child sexual abuse database.