UK foreign secretary uses India trip to call for terrorists to be 'starved of finance'

Visit aims to strengthen relations between London and New Delhi

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly in Mumbai on Friday. EPA
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Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will call on world leaders to unite to “starve terrorists” of the monetary and technological means needed to launch attacks, in a speech to the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee in India.

Mr Cleverly will address delegates at the conference in New Delhi on Saturday, after touching down on Friday in Mumbai, where he laid a wreath at a memorial in honour of the victims of the 2008 terror attacks.

The visit is his first overseas trip since being reappointed to his role by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was sworn in as the UK’s new leader on Tuesday. Many have seen it as a sign that Mr Sunak is looking to prioritise strengthening relations with India, his ancestral homeland.

Negotiating teams from both countries are in the final stages of completing a comprehensive free trade agreement.

Mr Cleverly will use his speech to put out a clarion call for like-minded partners to band together behind a shared mission to deprive terrorists of vital resources and prevent future attacks.

He will urge the international community to collaborate to “starve terrorists of the finance and emerging technologies” that will cause destruction around the world, No 10 Downing Street said.

A particular focus will be placed on the battle to stamp out online terrorism, including global terror recruitment campaigns and live streaming attacks.

The UK’s Counter Daesh Communication Cell, in partnership with the US and UAE governments, works to root out propaganda created and spread by ISIS.

Britain is also working to prevent terrorists from exploiting online platforms and pushing tech companies to crack down harder on extremist online content through the Group of Seven and the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.

“Within the space of two decades, terrorists have gone from circulating crackly voice recordings from the depths of Tora Bora, to global online recruitment and incitement campaigns, to live streaming attacks,” Mr Cleverly will say.

“Online incitement has radicalised vulnerable people in far-off countries, who have gone on to use rental vans as weapons of terror.

“So we must continue to work together to fight terrorist ideologies online.”

He will conclude we must “starve terrorists of the finance and emerging technologies that will cause death and destruction around the world”.

While in India, Mr Cleverly announced an £11 million UK investment in Kinara Capital, a woman-led FinTech company.

The funds will be delivered through British International Investment, a government development finance institution which aims to bolster trade ties with partners around the world and generate economic growth.

The foreign secretary also unveiled a £22m investment by the UK-backed Neev II Fund into Hygenco, which will help India’s green energy transition by pioneering green hydrogen.

Following his appearance at the UN conference, Mr Cleverly will hold a meeting with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

The pair are scheduled to discuss the latest on the UK-India 2030 Roadmap, a shared British-Indian vision aimed at re-energising trade, investment and technological collaboration and improve citizens' lives.

Updated: October 28, 2022, 11:01 PM