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EU-India workshop held on countering online radicalization

New Delhi [India], May 17 :
 The European Union (EU) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) organised a two-day workshop (May 16-17) in which Indian and European experts discussed various aspects of online radicalisation.

In addition to the NIA, representatives from several state police forces - Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Manipur and also central agencies took part in the workshop.

The European participants represented Europol (the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation) as well as law enforcement agencies from Belgium, France and Spain.

This event reflects the essence of the joint statement on cooperation in combating terrorism adopted by leaders on both sides at the 14th summit in New Delhi on October 6, 2017 where they "welcomed the joint commitment to explore opportunities to develop cooperation between the relevant institutions on both sides, to, inter alia, share information, best practices, including on countering the online threat of radicalisation, and to engage in capacity building activities, such as training and workshops."

The participants at the workshop deliberated upon the processes that lead to radicalisation and recruitment, propaganda networks of different terrorist organisations, tools to identify online extremist materials and their sources, and experiences of working with online service providers to block and remove such material.

Participants also discussed the use of electronic evidence in counter-terrorism investigations as well as the mechanisms to legally prosecute producers and disseminators of terrorist e-propaganda.
The internet and social media have become one of the main vehicles used by extremists and terrorist organisations to incite violence and sow hatred in the society. Technological changes have also allowed them to reach a much greater number of people than ever before. India and the EU are determined to cooperate closely together to stop their respective citizens, and especially their youth, from becoming prey to online radicalisation.

Inaugurating the workshop, Dr. A.P. Maheshwari, Director General of Bureau of Police Research and Development said, "Online radicalisation is an area of concern that entails collaborated efforts by all segments of society, locally as well as globally, in order to contain its genesis, spread and violent outburst. In this fatal war of perceptions, besides the well-coordinated policing of the virtual world, we need proper nurturing of behavioural responses by all the mentors who shape the human cognitions, may it be family members, social leaders, teachers, business houses or the role models generating huge demonstration effect".

Tomasz Kozlowski, the Ambassador of the EU to India, said, "This workshop is the clear reflection that the EU and India are joining hands in the fight against terrorism. I am extremely pleased to see that our counter-terrorism cooperation is becoming more concrete and that our law enforcement agencies are working together to prevent extremist organisations from distributing violent and hateful propaganda through the internet."

In his remarks, Yogesh Chander Modi, Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA), emphasised that the joint effort made by the EU and the NIA should be the first among many ventures.

He highlighted that as the nation's premier investigation agency, NIA is committed to spearheading successful prosecution of terrorist offences by collaborating with other states and agencies. He stressed that developing skills to investigate complex terror crimes carried out in the cyber realm is the need of the hour.

Commending EU-India security cooperation, the ambassador of France to India, Alexandre Ziegler, recalled, "France is determined to fight terrorism wherever it is found and to enhance operational cooperation with India. Disrupting the distribution of terrorist propaganda online has become a global priority and we will continue to support building of a European database of illegal content, as it is part and parcel of the new French National Plan to Prevent Radicalisation."

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