India: Building capacities to prevent and counter terrorism 


In today's globalized world no country is immune to the threat of terrorism.  Several countries in South Asia, including India, have been facing the challenge of terrorism and over the past few years there have been numerous acts of terror in the region. Many of these incidents are found to have complex international linkages and possible connections with transnational organised crime. Terrorism is an evolving phenomenon, with terrorist organizations continuously changing their modus operandi, thereby adding to the complexity and challenges faced by criminal justice practitioners. 

The ability to successfully address these challenges lies heavily on the capacity of national criminal justice systems to administer fair and effective justice for perpetrators of terrorist crimes. National action, coupled with international and regional cooperation are key elements in addressing terrorism effectively.

In order to enhance the knowledge and expertise needed to strengthen the capacity of national criminal justice officers to implement the universal legal framework against terrorism, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in collaboration with the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad organized a national training of trainers (TOT) workshop for judiciary, prosecution and law enforcement officers. The five-day workshop titled "Global legal framework against terrorism and relevant criminal justice response measures" brought together police officers, judges and prosecutors from across the different states of India.  

The workshop presented an overview of the universal legal framework against terrorism. It laid out the various UN Security Council resolutions and the 19 instruments on counter terrorism, of which India has already ratified 14. It also discussed the Indian legislative framework against terrorism including the repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), as well as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.  Additional lectures focused on the overview of the (i) international legislative framework on extradition, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and financing of terrorism, (ii) the findings of a UNODC study on the size of the Afghan opiate trade economy and potential linkages with terror financing and (iii) the use of the internet for terrorist purposes.

The TOT also included a session on effective presentation techniques. Participants then applied their learning into presentations on the case studies that they were given to work on in groups, focusing on the understanding and application of international and national legislation. Each group was evaluated by their peers on content and presentation style.

Dr. Nikhil Gupta, Deputy Director (Estt & SC), National Police Academy welcomed this first India-specific training that UNODC conducted in the area of terrorism prevention. Highlighting the timeliness of this training, he said that at a time when the global community is struggling with this growing threat, it is important to work towards preventing acts of terrorism, rather than responding once an attack has taken place. He added that even though it is important to train criminal justice practitioners in the Indian context, it is equally important for them to understand the international legal framework - an area where UNODC can provide expertise. The Director of the Academy, Ms. Aruna Bahuguna highlighted the need for constant learning in today's world, where crime patterns and terrorist acts are constantly evolving and changing.  She appreciated this first collaboration between the National Police Academy and UNODC, suggesting that contents of this course should be integrated into the Academy's regular training curriculum.

The first TOT will be followed by a second TOT, which will be conducted by selected participants from this training, under the guidance of UNODC. After that both the Academy and UNODC have agreed to continue the collaboration also exploring other areas of interest within the mandate of UNODC, such as training in drug law enforcement, as well as awareness on corruption prevention. 

The initiative was conducted under the project titled: "Strengthening the legal regime against terrorism", with financial support from the United States of America.