India on FATF Radar By Dr Muhammad Khan
For decades India has acted as a hub of international money laundry and illicit trade of various items especially the weapons and ammunition. According to a report, “money laundering in India soared to a whopping $674.9 billion for the 10-year period from 2009 to 2018 which reflects the magnitude of illicit trade” in India. From 2018 onwards, this process further intensified under the supervision of key personalities of the BJP Government. Terror financing by some Indian extremist organizations is one area which had Governmental sponsorship of the Prime Minister Modi led BJP Government ever since 2014. Since India is member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), therefore it has been manipulating this Inter Governmental Organization in its favour and against the selected states like Pakistan.
Recently, it has been revealed that, a violent extremist organization in India is under watch and investigation for collecting funds from various people, industry and other sources which is used for the procurement of arms and ammunition at the later stages. This extremist organization is indeed a “well-structured networks” which uses both; offlineas well as the online fundraising mechanisms that also include circulating the QR codes and account details. The money so collected is used for procurement of arms and ammunition. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) India is world’s largest arms importer ever since 2002. The latest estimates of this organization shows that, India accounts for 11 per cent of the world arms import, mainly from Russia, America, European Union states and Israel.
As per Says Global Terror Finance Watchdog, a violent extremist organization of India uses these funds for training the recruits for organization, ‘Crowdfunding for Terrorism Financing’. Being independent body, FATF aims to; develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.In November 2023, India will be evaluated for this money laundering and maintaining links with international terror funding like TTP. Indeed, as per authentic information, the Indian Government officially sponsors terrorist organizations like; RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal (BD), and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). Their ideologies are the same and aim to promote Hindutva. BJP is the political face of RSS. RSS has a role in the achievement of the overall national objectives for a Hindu India. It is practicing the ideology of German Nazism; ‘Der Nazi-Sozi.
Indian Real Estate business is also being used for terror financing all over the world. The money laundering process linked with the Real Estate system needs thorough scrutiny by FATF. The main sectors that are associated with this illegal business are; Real Estate “including sectors dealing with precious metal/ stone are categorized as Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) sectors.” There is no transparency in the accounting process of these sectors. The AML/CFT regulations of India are complex hence difficult for DNFBPs to comply with. More so, the Anti-Money Laundering and CounterFinancing of Terrorism is either ineffective or else has escape routes. The real-estate sector is spread all across India with a huge amount of un-accounted-for money which is covertly used for terror financing all over the world, especially in the neighboring states of South Asia. Mostly the Real Estate system is based on cash a payment which remains away from banking process and legal accounting payment system. This is not by chance or accidental happening, rather a meticulously organized phenomenon by the Indian Government for the implementation of its nefarious designs against its rival states. Recently, there was a report tabled before the Indian parliament that shows that India is facing a very heavy amount of money laundering and tax evasion in the field of gem and jewelry sectors which are further connected with money laundering.
Besides, the report says that; “Gold imported into India is heavily linked to conflict, human rights violations, smuggling, child labor, corruption, and other abuses in Africa and South America.” Billions of USDs gold enters into India annually and solely absorbed into the legal market with ease. Even this later re-exported in the form of jewelry and other vested areas where non-state elements are involved. Mostly, it becomes difficult for DNFBPs to identify and verify their customers’ identities and the source of their funds. Then, there is a direct and indirect involvement of money launderers and extremist organizations like; RSS, BD, and VHP.
The TTP and many other terrorist outfits in Pakistan were trained, financed, and abated by a spying network of India and Afghanistan (RAW and NDS). All terrorism in Pakistan was sponsored from Afghan soil through these and many other spying networks. In their prolonged presence in Afghanistan (2001-2021), NATO and U.S. did not stop the export of NDS-RAW-sponsored terrorism into Pakistan while being in total control of Afghan soil. Pakistan physically defeated terrorism, blocked the financial chain of terrorists, and brought peace in the region.
Indeed, India is a test case for FATF to impose sanctions on account of; terror financing and money laundering since it claims to stop all these illegal practices besides developing and promoting policies to protect the global financial system. It is worth mentioning that, India has already signed several international treaties and agreements to enhance cooperation in fight against money laundering and terror financing, yet promoting these acts with consistency. FATF must adopt a rational approach towards all states at the international level with no exception for India. — The writer is a Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.
India on FATF Radar By Dr Muhammad Khan