IN A clear reference to Pakistan but without naming it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday told G20 leaders that “one single nation” in South Asia was spreading terror in the region, and said that the international community should isolate those who sponsor and support terrorism instead of rewarding them.
Intervening in the final session on ‘Other significant issues’ that affect the world economy, on the last day of the two-day G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Modi said, “Growing forces of violence and terror pose a fundamental challenge. There are some nations that use it as an instrument of state policy. One single nation in South Asia is spreading these agents of terror in the countries of our region. India has a policy of zero tolerance to terrorism. Because anything less than that is not enough. For us, a terrorist is a terrorist.”
The Prime Minister said that India expected the international community to speak and act in unity, and respond urgently to fight this menace. “Those who sponsor and support terrorism must be isolated and sanctioned, not rewarded,” he said.
On Sunday, Modi had raised the issue of the China-Pakistan economic corridor with Chinese President Xi Jinping, expressing concern that it passed through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which is a major source of terrorism for India.
On Monday, the Prime Minister held separate bilateral meetings with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Argentina President Mauricio Macri.
In his meeting with Erdogan, the issue of India’s place in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was discussed, said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup. Turkey was the only country that pushed for clubbing India and Pakistan’s applications at the NSG meeting in South Korea in June. The two also discussed economic cooperation, civil aviation links and energy issues. Turkey flagged its concerns about the suspected presence of supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen in India to which New Delhi said its investigative agencies were looking at the issue.
In his first meeting with May after she took charge as UK’s Prime Minister, Modi underlined that even after Brexit, the UK remained as important a partner for India as before, said the MEA spokesperson. Modi, however, pointed out that the UK’s new visa regulations could have a negative impact on Indian professionals making short-term business visits to the country.
The two leaders also discussed enhancing counter-terror cooperation, with Modi noting that May was aware of the dangers of terrorism, alluding to her previous stint as Home Secretary.
Asked whether the two discussed a separate trade deal, the MEA spokesperson said the issue could perhaps wait as the UK’s relations with EU was still being discussed.
During his meeting with the President of Argentina, which is scheduled to host the next G20 summit, Modi thanked Macri for his country’s support to India’s NSG membership bid and for allowing Indian pharma products under a special category. The two countries, which are discussing a bilateral investment treaty, also agreed to cooperate further in solar energy, especially as part of the international solar alliance.
Macri invited Indian companies to participate in the exploration of share gas reserves in Argentina and sought Indian collaboration in the area of food security.
In a separate, brief meeting with French President Francois Hollande, the Prime Minister discussed the massive data leak related to the Scorpene submarines designed by French company DCNS for the Indian Navy, the MEA spokesperson said. “I do not have further details,” he said.
The two leaders, he said, discussed climate change, reviewed the direction of the strategic relationship between the countries, and political, economic, security and defence cooperation.