India calls for mechanism against terror as Interpol general assembly ends

New Delhi, Oct 21 (EFE).- Interpol’s 90th general assembly concluded in New Delhi on Friday with host India issuing a call for establishing a real-time information sharing network against terrorism, while the police body highlighted financial and cyber crimes as the biggest global threat. 

Meanwhile, the assembly also decided to review its legal provisions for expelling or suspending a member country, after Ukraine requested this in the backdrop of the Russian invasion.

“I have advised Interpol to establish a real-time information-action network against terrorism activities. India has always stood with anti-terrorism activities worldwide,” Indian Home Minister Amit Shah said during the closing ceremony of the assembly. 

Shah stressed the need to strengthen cross-border cooperation against terror, adding that Interpol was key to this initiative and it was important to reach a “global definition” of terrorist activities. 

Indian authorities have repeatedly raised the terror issue during the assembly, including during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inaugural speech on Tuesday. 

“India has been combating trans-national terrorism for several decades. (…) But 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,” Modi said. 

Interpol secretary-general Jurgen Stock (Germany) said in a press conference before the assembly that tracking terror funding was one of the body’s main international programs, and it had created a single global platform to collect and share terror-related information. 

However, he insisted that terrorism was not a global phenomenon and was limited to some parts of the world. 

During the assembly, a resolution was approved to “make comprehensive review of and propose modifications to Interpol’s legal texts” to “put in place criteria for the expulsion or suspension of a member,” after Ukraine submitted a proposal seeking an amendment to the constitution, which does not permit such a move currently.  

In February, former British interior minister Priti Patel had said that London would “lead international efforts” to back Ukraine’s bid to expel Russia from Interpol. 

Meanwhile Russia – whose delegates were present in the assembly alongside Kyiv’s representatives – tabled a resolution seeking to keep “political affairs” away from the body’s activities, which the house agreed to “carefully consider” in its proceedings. 

In its Global Crime Trends Report, released for the first time this year during the event, Interpol highlighted financial and cyber crimes as the biggest global concern for security forces. 

Money-laundering was the number-one threat, the body said based on a survey among the police forces of the 195 member countries, with 67 percent of the respondents ranking it a high or very high priority crime.

“Most disturbing is perhaps the related rise in online child sexual exploitation and abuse,” which 62 percent of the respondents expect to increase in near future, as per the report. 

In one of the resolutions approved during the general assembly, Interpol urged member countries to “actively and collectively” fight against organized crime, financial crimes and corruption, based on the database available with the organization. 

The next Interpol assembly comes in the body’s centenary year and is set to take place in Austria, where it was founded in 1923. EFE

daa/ia