TWO DAYS after the BRICS declaration, which did not make any direct or indirect mention of Pakistan or cross-border terrorism, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said terrorism was “universally recognised as a key threat to stability, progress and development” by the participating countries. She said terrorism “featured strongly in the conference narrative and its eventual outcome”.
Swaraj said that moving beyond the understanding of the dangers terrorism posed to the “economic aspirations of the world”, there is a “growing recognition” that it now has become “a truly global challenge that the international community can only ignore at its peril.” She said that for a forum like BRICS, which has been global in its approach, there is “no bigger global challenge than state-sponsored and state-protected terrorism.”
Elaborating, Swaraj said that during the summit, there was a “developing consensus that it cannot be business as usual”. Without naming Pakistan, Swaraj said, “we must be prepared to extract costs for those who sponsor and support terrorists, who provide them sanctuary, and who, despite their own claimed victimhood, continue to make the false distinction between good and bad terrorists.”
Speaking at a BRICS media forum in New Delhi, she said members of BIMSTEC “represent the polar opposite of a terrorism promoting polity”.
BIMSTEC includes Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. Swaraj said these countries are focused on “improving the quality of life of their people, skills and employment, education and health, and the quality of governance and deepening of democracy.”
The BIMSTEC members, she said, “are actively promoting connectivity, cooperation and contacts among themselves”. She said these nations present a contrasting picture to “those who reject even trade and connectivity for political reasons.” BIMSTEC’s “interface” with BRICS carried the message that the world is changing in a positive direction.
The 8th BRICS Summit represented further advancements in terms of the breadth and focus of its discussions, Swaraj said. “While our economic engagement and political cooperation remained key factors, there was a sharp realisation that global development and prosperity was very much dependent on continued peace and security.”
In Goa, she said, “we have strengthened the institutional foundation of BRICS and set it on the path of seeking collective solutions which will not only help propel the BRICS nations forward but also be a voice of hope, peace and prosperity for the entire world.”
India brought a practical, informal and effective approach as the chair to BRICS this year, Swaraj said, and this was “recognised” and “appreciated” by the other four nations. BRICS is also a “powerful voice of hope for future generations”, Swaraj said. “It is for this reason that, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision, we have sought to lay particular emphasis on the people-to-people linkages that will bring our nations closer.”
While in the initial years, BRICS concentrated more on economic and financial issues, it has steadily broadened to cover larger global issues, even as it has promoted the creation of BRICS institutions and mechanisms, she said.
During the summit, a total of 115 events were organised, including two parliamentary meetings, 15 ministerial meetings, workshops, seminars with senior officials of the five nations, said Swaraj.