The UN Security Council has ordered countries to step up the fight against terror financing by ensuring they have laws to make it a serious crime.
The council unanimously adopted the French-drafted resolution that calls on nations to "ensure that their domestic laws and regulations establish serious criminal offenses" to prosecute those who collect funds or provide economic resources to terror organizations or terrorists. The resolution, which can enforced with sanctions, also urges countries to establish financial intelligence units to strengthen efforts to track terrorism financing and to share information on their investigations.
This is the first standalone measure dedicated specifically to countering the financing of terrorism.
India, which has been pushing for action against countries that support terror in its diplomatic offensive against Pakistan, welcomed the move but stressed on effective implementation.
Syed Akbaruddin, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, calling India a "willing partner" in the endeavor, hit out at Pakistan in a reference to "serial offenders" who are apologists for terrorists.
"Terrorists are going to be ever more creative in finding ways to violate the rulebook. Also, the unfortunate reality is that States who are apologists for terrorists will continue to provide alibis to justify their actions and inaction too, as was done by a serial offender earlier today," Mr Akbaruddin said at the UN, adding that the world body collectively needs to do more and do it much more effectively.
"The proof of the pudding is in its eating, the utility of any council resolution will, therefore, be in its implementation...The Council can and needs to do a better job of overseeing the implementation of its resolutions relating to terrorist financing," he said.
The non-compliance of crucial sanctions rendered all countries at a high risk of facing challenges from terror organizations who are well-funded and armed despite international measures, he said.
Mr Akbaruddin later tweeted: "New milestone adopted by @UN to Counter Terrorist Financing. Unfortunately, States who are apologists for terrorists will continue to provide alibis to justify their actions & inaction too."
He welcomed the recognition in the UN resolution of the essential role of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which can ratchet pressure on more than 50 countries to pass new legislation on countering terror financing.
The resolution came just after a new push at the UNSC for action against Masood Azhar, the chief of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, by the US, Britain and France. China indicated with its statements that it remained determined to block the move.