HM’s address at Interpol meet in Monaco (05-11-2014)

The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh called for strengthening of strategies to deal with cyber crimes. The Home Minister was addressing the 83rd General Assembly of Interpol, in Monaco on November 04, 2014.

The Union Home Minister congratulated INTERPOL for celebrating its centenary this November and wished that they are able to contribute much more to the cause of international cooperation and capacity building in law enforcement agencies across the world as India believes in the Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’, i.e. the whole world is a family. India would like to see the world safe apart from its own security and wants to see Interpol even more powerful, effective and result oriented, he added. Shri Rajnath Singh said that this is a memorable day as it is his unique privilege to address on a topical issue of “Contemporary Criminal Threats and new Challenges to Police Cooperation”. He further added that in the midst of rejoicing, let us not forget to take note of the fact that the challenges to law enforcement have multiplied many fold and the dangers are more substantial now than a century ago when the idea of INTERPOL was conceived.

Shri Rajnath Singh said that undoubtedly, in the 21st century, there has been a significant increase in the range and scope of international criminal activity. The level and severity of this activity coupled with the unprecedented growth in the power and influence of Transnational Organised Criminal Groups have raised concerns amongst governments and India is no exception, he added. Shri Rajnath Singh began the discussion by quoting the great Indian sage and thinker Swami Vivekananda, “Society does not go down because of the activities of criminals, but because of the inactivity of the good people.”

The Union Minister said that advancements in information and communication technologies have transformed the world into a global village. These changes have accelerated the pace, volume, and scope of international trade & commerce. The dynamics of globalization, the free movements of people, goods, and financial transactions across borders, have enabled international organized crime groups to expand both their global reach and criminal business interests. Anonymity offered by the internet technology has facilitated communication between the members of terror groups without much fear of being intercepted by law enforcement agencies. Information Technology has radically changed the way people work, communicate and interact; it has also altered the work culture of criminals. The rise of social networks has increased the diffusion of private data users that can be potentially stolen and misused. Women and children are equally vulnerable in cyberspace as in the real world, if not more. In recent years, the Internet and Social Media are being increasingly used to instigate communal riots to destabilize the state, he further added. The Minister called upon each one of them to take a pledge to strengthen the strategy relating to cyber-crime on this momentous occasion of the centenary year of the Interpol.

Shri Rajnath Singh said that more often than in the past, criminal organizations are sharing information, services, resources, and market access according to the principle of comparative advantage. By doing so, they can reduce their risks and costs and are able to exploit illicit criminal opportunities. Thus, there exist highly efficient networks, capable of destabilizing civilized nations and forcing weak governments to toe their line. The world is also witnessing some cataclysmic changes as lethal non-state actors fired by toxic ideology turning into State themselves, he added.

The Union Home Minister said that police and judicial systems have to evolve continuously to meet new challenges. The outdated laws have to be weeded out with effective legislations that can address spiraling corruption, money laundering, financial and high-tech crimes, recovery and confiscation of ill-gotten wealth, intellectual property piracy, corrupt business practices, or illegal immigration. The Minister further added that the governments across the world have to recognize the need to collectively address the issue of safe havens for organized criminal and terrorist groups, their illicit operations, and their tainted money.

Shri Rajnath Singh further said that no nation, however powerful and mighty, can combat the transnational Criminal and Terrorist Groups singlehandedly. The approach to combating organized crime and terrorism should focus primarily on building police capabilities and developing effective cooperative policing initiatives between states, federal and international policing agencies. Domestic investigation and prosecution systems must have the capacity to conduct trials and request evidence from foreign jurisdictions if necessary. The process of investigating and prosecuting transnational criminality requires governments to invest resources in collaborative efforts, in the likely event that criminal investigations and trials take place in more than one jurisdiction, Shri Rajnath Singh added.

The Union Home Minister recollected that the horrific event of 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, brought home to the western world its devastating consequences and changed the world profoundly thereafter. The outlook of developed nations towards terrorist groups changed drastically and they woke up to the threat with which, India is grappling with since early 80s. India believes that there is need for far greater vigilance and stricter provisions so as to make off-shore jurisdiction more transparent. In addition, lifting banking secrecy and the corporate veil in corruption and terrorist-related cases would go a long way in bringing the criminals to book. States must refrain from organising, instigating, facilitating, participating in, financing, encouraging or tolerating terrorist activities. They must take appropriate measures to ensure that their territories are not used for setting up terrorist infrastructures or training camps, the Home Minister added. He reminded that the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi emphatically conveyed at the recent BRICS Summit that “We must put collective pressure on States to deny sanctuaries and support to terrorists.”

Shri Rajnath Singh stated that the process of Extradition is a labyrinthine and time consuming. Such inordinate delay in bringing the fugitive before the Court of Law may be counterproductive. In this background, Shri Rajnath Singh appreciated the initiative of INTERPOL in the development of E-Extradition tool. INTERPOL’s initiative in using the network of National Central Bureaus systematically is a very novel method to prevent avoidable delays. Similarly, the process of obtaining the foreign located evidence through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties has to be made less cumbersome and swift. Shri Rajnath Singh further added that the present system was designed for the 20th century and struggles to cope with the pace and complexity of the data transfers across multiple jurisdictions. By infusing technology and making full use of online Mutual Legal Assistance Request Writer developed by UNODC, the delays can be cut down, Shri Singh added.

Before concluding, the Union Home Minister suggested that the Internet has become the principal means of communication for extremist groups, which now have a substantial online presence. These Internet forums act as a virtual firewall to help safeguard the identities of those who participate. To counter violent extremists who work in scores of countries around the globe, there is an urgent need to coordinate the efforts of individual Governments and strengthen the Global Counter Terrorism Architecture. The Union Home Minister further added that the Banking on its century old experience of fugitive tracking and enabling cooperation among Law Enforcement Organizations, INTERPOL is best suited to observe the Cyberspace and dark areas of Internet independently to track potentially harmful websites aiding terrorist activities.

Shri Rajnath Singh while appreciating Interpol said that despite obstacles, it has shown by example how nations and police forces can be knit together to cooperate in the furtherance of law enforcement and national security objectives. INTERPOL represents how cooperative ventures can be established, managed, and sustained to make world a safer place. Shri Rajanth Singh conveyed his best wishes to the Interpol for its even more powerful and effective role and congratulated all on this great occasion when the Interpol is completing its 100 years.

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