Category: International Happenings

Pakistan Ban Terror Outfits

In news

  • Under pressure from the world community to act on terror, Pakistan banned 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat (FiF) by issuing a United Nations Security Council (Freezing and Seizure) Order (SRO), 2019.


  • The objective of the SRO is to make certain UN Security Council sanctions are applied on individuals and entities such as the JuD and FiF.. The UNSC list includes the names of the al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, JuD, FiF, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other organisations and individuals. The SRO overrides all previous local listings and under it, the assets of terror groups are frozen and taken over by the Pakistani government.

India’s Response

  • But India has dismissed the actions taken.
  • “JUD, LeT, FiF have been banned by UN since 2009. So is Pak saying they are following that decision now? If so what were they doing all these many years.


  • Pakistan’s flip-flop was very visible earlier in the day as a list from Pakistan’s interior ministry’s NACTA or the national counter-terrorism authority placed the JuD and FiF in the organisations “under watch” category despite Pakistan declaring publicly on February 21 that both would be banned.
  • The banning had been decided after a national security committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in February.
  • The announcement of the ban came during the Financial Action Task Force or FATF meet in Paris from February 17 to 22 at which Pakistan was put under tremendous pressure to act on terror. FATF had slammed Islamabad in a statement after the week-long meet, saying the country had not demonstrated a “proper understanding” of the terror financing risks posed by Islamic State, al-Qaeda, JuD, FiF, LeT, JeM, the Haqqani Network, and persons affiliated with the Taliban.
  • In the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 in which at least 40 CRPF personnel died, the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Austrlia, and the EU have called for Pakistan to act against terror groups on its soil.

Organization Of Islamic Countries Resolution On Jammu And Kashmir

In News

  • India rejected a resolution by Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) on Jammu and Kashmir saying the matter was internal.


  • The OIC ministerial meeting, which concluded adopted a separate resolution on Kashmir, apart from the Abu Dhabi declaration the resolutions are based on country proposals and are “not” negotiated documents.
  • In the resolution, the OIC “praised” Pakistan for its “efforts” and criticized Indian state for “indiscriminate use of force against innocent Kashmiris”. It mentioned “Indian terrorism” and “blinding of Kashmiris” in the resolution.
  • The OIC also asked the Indian government to rebuild Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
  • In the resolution, OIC member-states reiterated that J&K remains the core dispute between Pakistan and India, and its resolution is indispensable for peace in South Asia it added solving the matter is important for peace in South Asia.

India’s Stand:

  • India said J&K is an “integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India”. But unlike previous statements, New Delhi did not say that OIC has no locus standi, and that India rejects the statement. “As regards the resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, our stand is consistent and well known. We reaffirm that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India,” the Ministry of External Affairs


  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.8 billion as of 2015 with 40 countries being Muslim Majority countries.
  • The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.
  • The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.
  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has 57 members, 56 of which are also member states of the United Nations, the exception being Palestine.
  • Some members, especially in West Africa and South America, are – though with large Muslim populations – not necessarily Muslim majority countries. A few countries with significant Muslim populations, such as Russia and Thailand, sit as Observer States.

In News

  • China and Russia agreed for a closer policy coordination to eradicate the breeding grounds of terrorism which is a significant gain for India in its push to isolate Pakistan internationally on the issue of terrorism post-Pulwama attack.


  • India on received support for its efforts to counter Pakistan-based terror groups from Russia and China, which said such organisations cannot be used for political goals and those committing terror attacks must be brought to justice.
  • Their commitment came at the conclusion of the Russia, India and China Foreign Ministers’ meeting here in the east Chinese city.
  • A joint communiqué issued after the meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) strongly condemned terrorism and said the three sides “stressed that terrorist groups cannot be supported and used in political and geopolitical goals”.
  • It said “those committing, orchestrating, inciting or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice in accordance with existing international commitments on countering terrorism”, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Security Council resolutions and FATF standards. This action should be taken on the principle extradite or prosecute.
  • The statement did not name Pakistan, though there was little doubt which country was being referred to in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack and India’s air strike on a Pakistani base of Jaish-e-Mohammed, which was blamed for the assault.
  • External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made a strong pitch for concerted international efforts to combat terror. She said she raised the Pulwama attack during meetings with her Russian and Chinese counterparts.
  • She said, “We need a global strategy, global cooperation to counter terrorism. I am happy to tell you today we discussed the establishment of a UN-led global counter-terrorism mechanism and finalising CCIT (Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism) proposed by India.”
  • Given the threat posed by terror, a strategy by India, Russia and China wouldn’t be enough to face the challenge. It’s not just a joint strategy but also our commitment. Terrorism is a threat to humanity, so a strategy by the three countries is not enough.


  • It is a trilateral grouping of Russia, India and China that has met annually since 2002. In recent years, it has functioned as complement to other frameworks involving three countries and including Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

RIC Summit:

  • The discussions of meeting focused on regional security, issues affecting Asia-Pacific region, counter-terror efforts and coordination at regional and multilateral forums. The ministers reiterated importance trilateral format as platform to foster closer dialogue and practical cooperation in identified areas.
  • The ministers released joint communiqué after meeting. They agreed to strengthen the trilateral dialogue for consultation and coordination on regional and global issues of mutual interest.

International and regional peace:

  • They held that cooperation is conducive to maintaining international and regional peace, stability and promoting global economic growth and prosperity.
  • They stressed for establishment of just and equitable international order based on international law and mutual respect, fairness and justice.
  • They held that various crises in the world should be resolved in accordance with the international law.


  • The three nations also condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirmed that all acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable irrespective of their motivations, committed wherever and by whomsoever.

Arms Race:

  • They called for prevention of arms race in outer space for maintaining international peace and security.
  • Russia and China reiterated that they welcome India’s participation in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

IAF on Pakistan

  • Indian Air Force had carried out a strike inside Pakistan, targeting a Jaish-e-Mohammad training camp.


  • 12 Mirage 2000 jets took part in the operation at around 3.30 am. The jets crossed the Line of Control and completely destroyed the target.
  • India had carried out a “non-military pre-emptive” action against the Jaish-e-Mohammad’s biggest terror camp, in Balakot .
  • Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar has his headquarters in Pakistan’s Bahawalpur. The Jaish was designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations in 2001
  • A very large number of Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, trainers, commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen [suicide] action have been killed.
  • The air strike is a response to the Jaish-e-Mohammad attack on paramilitary forces in Pulwama in Kashmir on February 14, which claimed the lives of over 40 troops.
  • Pakistan has taken no action to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil.
  • When India selected the target, it aimed to ensure that civilian casualties would be avoided. The facility that was attacked is located in thick forest, on a hilltop, far away from any civilian presence.
  • The last major strike carried out by the Indian Air Force in Pakistan was during the 1971 war for Bangladesh liberation. This is the first time before India and Pakistan became nuclear powers.
  • Even during the Kargil war in 1999, the incursions made were described as inadvertent and not specifically planned by the Air Force. In 2016, the Indian Army carried out a surgical strike across the LoC after a terrorist attack in Uri.

FATF on Pakistan

  • The international watchdog against money laundering and financing of terrorism, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has put Pakistan on a list of “jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies”, also known as the grey list.


  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan in the ‘grey list’ for now, despite New Delhi’s push to blacklist the neighbour over terror funding.
  • The decision to keep Pakistan in the ‘grey list’ was taken at the end of week-long meetings by the FATF in Paris. In the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, India had made a strong case against Pakistan’s non-compliance in curbing terror funding.
  • Pakistan is already in the grey list and has time till October to avoid being blacklisted, technically referred to as countries under ‘high-risk and other monitored jurisdiction.’ Iran and North Korea are currently blacklisted.
  • India had underlined Pakistan’s complicity in the Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed. Jaish-e-Mohammad, a proscribed terror outfit that has claimed responsibility for the terror attack, operates out of Pakistan.
  • India is believed to have shared details of the same, stressing how Pakistan has been unable to curb the activities or choke its funding.
  • In June 2018, Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and the Asia Pacific Group to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies.
  • To avoid being blacklisted in October this year, it had committed that “law enforcement agencies are identifying and investigating the widest range of terror funding activities and that terror funding investigations and prosecutions target designated persons and entities, and persons and entities acting on behalf of or at the direction of the designated persons or entities.”
  • India had informed the FATF that Pakistan is falling short of its commitments drastically as the proscribed terror outfits and individuals continue to act from its territory and bleed India.
  • When Pakistan was put under the grey list last year, its all-weather friend China and Saudi Arabia, which has an observer status at the FATF, refused to shield it.
  • India is hoping that it can ultimately build enough pressure to push for Pakistan’s blacklisting later this year. The blacklisting will prevent institutions like IMF from financially supporting Pakistan that it can ill-afford at this time.

Money laundering:

  • In simple terms, money laundering pertains to disguising money earned from a crime as money earned through legitimate sources.
  • The crime could be corruption, drug trafficking, fraud or tax evasion. Terrorist financing involves collection of funds to support acts of terror or terrorist organisations.
  • A key difference between the two is that, in money laundering, the source of funds has to be a crime.
  • In the financing of terrorism, funds may come from perfectly legitimate sources, such as donations from ordinary citizens, but the purpose has to be a crime.

What is FATF looking for in AML and CFT

  • FATF has formulated a set of 40 recommendations which have become international standards on AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and CFT(Countering Financing of Terrorism)
  • Over time, these recommendations have been and will continue to be updated. The recommendations list out the essential measures that countries should have in place to: Identify the risks, and develop policies and domestic coordination; pursue money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation; apply preventive measures for the financial sector and other designated sectors;
  • establish powers and responsibilities for the competent authorities (e.g., investigative, law enforcement and supervisory authorities) and other institutional measures;
  • Enhance the transparency and availability of beneficial ownership information of legal persons and arrangements; and facilitate international cooperation.
  • FATF evaluates a country’s performance based on its assessment methodology that covers: technical compliance, which is about legal and institutional framework and the powers and procedures of the competent authorities, and effectiveness assessment, which is about the extent to which the legal and institutional framework is producing the expected results.
  • A lot of these recommendations and methodology are nothing but the dry financial jargon that is characteristic of multilateral bodies and compliance professionals, such as a “risk-based approach”, “structural deficiencies”, “materiality”, “customer due diligence”, “suspicious transaction report” etc.

What are the implications for Pakistan?

  • FATF uses peer pressure through the age-old technique of name-and-shame. There are many factors at play and it remains unclear how negative Pakistan’s placement on the grey list will eventually turn out to be.
  • There is, however, no debate that it is indeed a negative. Here are some of the ways in which grey listing could affect Pakistan.
  • Pakistan’s banking channel could be adversely affected as it is inevitably linked with the international financial system.
  • The impact on Pakistan’s economy could be relatively wide, touching imports, exports, remittances and access to international lending.
  • Foreign financial institutions may carry out enhanced checking of transactions with Pakistan to avoid risk of violations pertaining to money laundering and financing of terrorism.
  • They may ask more questions and apply more checks. Some such institutions may also avoid dealing with Pakistan’s financial system altogether.
  • Another affectee is the sentiment of foreign investors. That Pakistan has been placed on the grey list has been covered in international news media and the fact will not go unnoticed by potential investors. Stock prices at Pakistan Stock Exchange appear to have already felt this impact.
  • Perhaps the biggest threat from being placed on the grey list is Pakistan could be pushed further down to the black list.
  • This black list comprises Iran and North Korea, the two countries West loves to hate. But placing Pakistan on the black list is probably a step too far to be on the cards at this stage. These potential implications of grey listing need to be balanced against past experience. Pakistan was on FATF grey list from 2012 to 2015, when it completed an IMF programme and also raised funds from international bond markets.
  • The country has also survived far graver financial challenges, such as those posed by nuclear explosions in 1998.

USA’s Trade War with China is Good for India

In News:

  • The trade war between the US and China is expected to boost the Indian economy with a rise of 3.5 per cent in exports while the EU will be the biggest winner, taking home $70 billion in additional trade, according to a UN study.


  • The US and China are locked in a trade war since President Donald Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum items in March last year, a move that sparked fears of a global trade war. In response, China imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of American imports
  • Countries that are expected to benefit the most from the trade war are the EU members as exports in the bloc are likely to grow by USD 70 billion. Japan and Canada will see exports increase by more than USD 20 billion each, it said.
  • Other countries set to benefit from the trade tensions include Australia, with 4.6 per cent export gains, Brazil (3.8%) India (3.5%), Philippines (3.2%) and Vietnam (5%), the study said.
  • The UNCTAD study also warns that the spat could hit East Asian producers the hardest, with a projected USD 160 billion contraction in the region’s exports unless discussions between China and the US are resolved before the March 1 deadline.
  • The study also underlines the “common concern” that trade disputes have an unavoidable impact on the “still fragile” global economy, particularly on developing, commodity-rich countries that are dependent on exports.
  • One major concern is the risk that trade tensions could spiral into currency wars, making dollar-denominated debt more difficult to service,

China and U.S. among 76 WTO Members Pushing for New E-Commerce Rules

In News:

  • Impatient with a lack of World Trade Organization rules on the explosive growth of e-commerce, 76 members – including the United States, China, the European Union and Japan – agreed to start negotiating a new framework.


  • On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, negotiators from the 76 countries and regions agreed to hammer out an agenda for negotiations they hope to kick off this year on setting new e-commerce rules.
  • E-commerce, or online trade in goods and services, has become a huge component of the global economy. A WTO report put the total value of e-commerce in 2016 at $27.7 trillion, of which nearly $24 trillion was business-to-business transactions.
  • The WTO’s 164 members failed to consolidate some 25 separate e-commerce proposals at a conference at Buenos Aires in December, including a call to set up a central e-commerce negotiating forum.
  • E-commerce, which developed largely after the WTO’s creation in 1995, was not part of the Doha round of talks that began in 2001 and eventually collapsed more than a decade later.
  • India did not join the initiative. It has previously said the WTO should finish off the stalled but development-oriented “Doha Round” of talks before moving into new areas.
  • The current WTO rules don’t match the needs of the 21st century. It is evident from the fact that there are no solid rules on e-commerce.


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