As Prime Minister Narendra Modi was wrapping up his visit to the UK and heading out to Turkey to attend the G-20 summit, the terrorist attacks on Paris shook Europe and the world.
Terrorism went on to dominate the G-20 summit agenda – in fact, Modi had an extensive conversation with British PM David Cameron on counter-terrorism cooperation just hours before the attacks in France.
The outcome of the conversation between the two PMs was reflected in the joint statement on security and defence cooperation. For the first time, terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba were named in a joint document between India and UK.
The two countries also agreed to cooperate on counter-terrorism strategies at various levels. The cooperation on defence — which also talked about the transfer of technology — was another big takeaway.
At the G-20 summit, the economic agenda was completely overshadowed by the ISIL and terrorism—and how to respond to the tragic events in Paris. It led the world’s top 20 leaders to come up with a separate joint statement on terrorism — a first in the history of the G-20.
The summit came at an opportune time, just 48 hours after the attacks in Paris and influenced the minds of the leaders present at the summit. The key issue however is that while the summit declarations — both with the UK and at the G-20 — are purposeful and laced with resolve, it remains to be seen how this stated commitment translates into action in terms of counter-terrorism measures.
There have been many occasions when countries have spoken of cooperation and then done nothing on listing of known terrorists because of political interests. For instance, India’s efforts to get terrorists proscribed at the UN have been stalled on several occasions.
Unless, the resolve shown in the joint statements is reflected in the actual cooperation, these high sounding words will remain hollow promises on paper.