As Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for an organised and coordinated action on counter-terrorism, Chinese President Xi Jinping Tuesday said BRICS leaders had agreed on deepening political and security cooperation while enhancing mutual strategic trust. This came a day after the BRICS, for the first time, named two Pakistan-based terrorist groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, in its declaration from Xiamen. Although the Heart of Asia declaration in Amritsar had also named these groups in 2016, this was an endorsement at the leadership level, especially from the Chinese perspective.
Responding to the BRICS summit document, Islamabad Tuesday said that Pakistan was also “seriously concerned” about the threat posed by terrorism and extremism in the South Asian region.
“Many terrorist groups based in the region, including in Afghanistan, such as the TTP and its associates like JuA have been responsible for extreme acts of violence against Pakistani people. We are deeply concerned at the presence of groups like Daesh, ETIM and IMU in the ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan as they pose a threat to peace and security in the region. Pakistan also remains concerned at the rise of extremist ideologies and intolerance in the region encouraging social stratification and systematic targeting of minorities,” Islamabad said, without mentioning JeM and LeT.
In Xiamen, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said the issue of terrorism did not come up for discussions during the bilateral meeting between Modi and Xi. But the BRICS declaration, he said, is a “collective commitment” by all countries, since it concerns all. “We, as the five countries’ leaders, believe it is in line with our common interests and international expectations to deepen political and security cooperation and enhance mutual strategic trust,” Xi said, at the end of the summit.
Since the beginning of the year, BRICS leaders have had in-depth exchanges and reached important consensus on issues such as international situation, global governance, global and regional hotspots, and national security and development, Xi said. According to the Chinese President, the meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues and the first meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations held this year have injected fresh impetus into the countries’ political and security cooperation. He said the five countries have also instituted regular consultations among their permanent representatives in New York, Geneva and Vienna to coordinate their positions on major issues of common concern.
The steady progress in cooperation on counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, peace-keeping and the Middle East, among other issues, has raised the influence of BRICS countries, he noted. The countries have supported efforts to keep the good momentum of political and security cooperation and played their part in maintaining world peace and stability, he said.
Meanwhile, Modi suggested ten commitments through which the BRICS leadership for global transformation can be achieved. Speaking at the “BRICS Emerging Markets and Developing Countries Dialogue”, organised by China on the sidelines of BRICS Summit as an outreach exercise, Modi assured India’s partnership with fellow developing countries, while pursuing its own aspirations for growth. “Whatever we do will impact the world substantially. So, it is our solemn duty to make a better world — brick by brick, or, through BRICS…,” Modi said. “I had spoken about the BRICS driving global transformation in the next ten years for it to be a Golden Decade. I suggest that this can be brought about with our proactive approach, policies and action,” he said.
Apart from Modi, leaders of Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and five guest countries — Egypt, Tajikistan, Thailand, Mexico and Kenya — attended the dialogue. Describing these countries as “close and valued” partners of India, the Prime Minister said he was pleased to exchange perspectives with them on the shared priority of achieving comprehensive sustainable development. He thanked Xi for bringing the countries together.
He said that BRICS, which represents almost half of humanity, can achieve global transformation with a proactive approach, policies and action based on ten “Noble Commitments”. The commitments include creating a safer world by organised and coordinated action on at least three issues — counter-terrorism, cyber security and disaster management.
The commitments suggested by the Prime Minister also include creating a greener world by taking concerted action on countering climate change through initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance; creating an enabled world; creating an inclusive world; creating a digital world; creating a skilled world; creating a healthier world; creating an equitable world; creating a connected world; and, creating a harmonious world.