Ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met at Durban’s Maharani Hotel for the 8th BRICS National Security Advisers meeting ahead of the summit next month. Picture: Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA
Durban - Cyber crimes, terrorism, counter-terrorism, money laundering, human trafficking and transnational organised crimes were major talking points on Friday before BRICS security ministers went into a closed meeting.

The ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met at Durban’s Maharani Hotel for day two of their 8th BRICS National Security Advisers meeting ahead of the summit next month.

National security adviser of India, Ajit Doval, said terrorism was an issue confronting all BRICS nations and had reached new proportions. Terrorists were using technology and exploiting legal loopholes in the system to further their agendas.

He said networks were becoming complex and interconnected, with the sponsorship of terrorism by some states continuing.

Doval also called for an effective international mechanism to verify the actions of the states to eliminate safe havens of terrorism from these territories.

“New methods of terror financing such as virtual currencies have been used. The absence of any global regime to tackle such digital transactions is of serious concern. Terrorists have been successful in getting access to arms ammunition and explosives.

“There is no doubt this needs special focus during this meeting.”

Doval said the use of ICT had become an integral part of international security architecture and that there was a need for the development of an effective and comprehensive international framework for securing ICT systems and internet assets.

South Africa’s Minister of State Security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, said international relations now played out in increasingly diverse ways. While South Africa had progressed into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it continued to face a range of issues challenging national security and sovereignty.

“Beyond conventional military build-ups, this includes new cyber sources of hard and soft power, reconfigured trade and investment needs, changing alliance dynamics and potential flashpoints related to the global environment.

“The evolving world we live in requires us to keep track of its multifaceted and dynamic changes, especially as it relates to security issues.”

Letsatsi-Duba said the world faced a number of emerging threats that had been elevated in terms of South Africa’s tradecraft.

“These range from countering international terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism, drug trafficking, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, conventional arms, money laundering,

unconstitutional regime change to managing economic meltdown, environmental degradation, forced migration, food security and an illicit economy.”

Letsatsi-Duba said the global nature of such security issues showed there was no respect for borders, which implied these issues were easily imported and negatively impacted stability and security within the country.

“Threats related to transnational organised crime, terrorism and cyber crime further emphasise the disrespect to our national borders. Nations cannot secure their national sovereignty unless they work together.”

She believed that state and non-state actors were hard at work in certain parts of the globe using various role-players to promote their agenda, while undermining the national security in various countries.

“These actors are in mass media, non-governmental and community-based organisations, foreign multinational companies, religious and student organisations, prominent and influential persons running covert intelligent networks to destabilise other countries who don’t share similar views to theirs”.

Minister of the Institutional Security Cabinet, General Sergio Etchegoyen from Brazil, said it welcomed the dialogue BRICS had established in the domain of intelligence and related arena of counter-

terrorism.

“Brazil has made much progress in this field over the past couple of years. Our legal framework is much more solid now with a specific counter-

terrorism act and related national intelligence policy and plan.”

He also welcomed BRICS members’ willingness to move forward with the proposal of creating a BRICS intelligence forum.

“It has been very productive for us to have become acquainted with the challenges and experiences of our BRICS partners in the realm of cyber-security. Brazil is aware of the dangers that lurk in cyberspace.

“As a nation, we are fully committed to building a democratic, open, stable and transparent cyber environment.”

After yesterday afternoon’s closed meeting, an e-mail said that during the meeting Brazil’s proposal to establish a BRICS Intelligence Forum was discussed and further deliberations on this proposal were underway.

Peacekeeping and transnational organised crime were also discussed in the closed meeting where it was then resolved that discussions around it would be held before the end of the year.