WHILE INDIA called Pakistan the “mothership” of terrorism and said “terrorism has become its favourite child”, the Goa declaration on Sunday betrayed divisions within the five-nation BRICS grouping on terrorism, especially emanating from Pakistan.
For one, the Goa declaration did not mention “cross-border terrorism” — a term used to describe Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
WATCH VIDEO: ‘No Mention Of Uri Attack In BRICS Goa Declaration’
It also did not name any Pakistan-based terrorist groups, including Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, in the statement, whereas it named Islamic State, Al Qaeda and Syria’s Jubhat al-Nusra.
Two, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi, through his three statements on Sunday, tried to name and shame Pakistan, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for “political solutions” to “regional hotspots” in a reference to the need for dialogue between India and Pakistan.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin did not make any reference to terrorism in his statement.
MEA’s Secretary (economic relations) Amar Sinha, one of the leading negotiators from India, said that Pakistan-based terror outfits were not mentioned specifically since they affected only India, not the other BRICS countries. “I guess it doesn’t concern them…since these groups don’t attack them, we are affected by these Pakistan-based groups…PM made those statements as an injured party, others worded them differently,” he said.
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On the phrase “cross-border terrorism” not being used, he said “ideas” and “concepts” pertaining to cross-border terrorism were mentioned, and pointed out a sentence — “We recall the responsibility of all states to prevent terrorist actions from their territories.”
Sinha’s statement that these groups affected only India is in contrast to New Delhi’s attempts, over the last few weeks, to underline that Pakistan-based terrorism affects not just India, but the region and the entire world. In fact, that was the genesis of the phrase “Ivy League of terrorism”, used by India to describe Pakistan at the United Nations recently.
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The contradictions within the BRICS grouping were evident, even though the PM said the BRICS leaders were unanimous in their view about terrorism.
“We also agreed that those who nurture, shelter, support and sponsor such forces of violence and terror are as much a threat to us as the terrorists themselves,” he said, at the conclusion of the BRICS summit.
Earlier in the day, Modi said that “selective approaches” to terrorists and their outfits are “futile and counter-productive”. “There must be no distinction based on artificial and self-serving grounds,” he said, a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping remained firm on blocking India’s bid to get JeM chief Masood Azhar designated as an international terrorist by the UN.
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Xi, in his 10-minute speech, too did not hold back. In an oblique reference to Kashmir, he talked about the need to find a “political solution” to “regional hotspots”. He also called for concrete efforts and multi-pronged approach that address both “symptoms and root causes” to global challenges like terrorism — an argument that is in tune with Pakistan’s position on Kashmir.
“We need to confront global challenges together. We, BRICS countries, share a common future. We are not only a community of convergence interest, but take concerted actions and make progress together. It is imperative that we step up coordination and communication on major international issues and regional hotspots and act in concert to find political solution to hotspot issues and take on such global challenges like natural disasters, climate change, infectious diseases and terrorism,” he said.
“While speaking with one voice in calling for greater international input, we should also address issues on the ground with concrete efforts and multi-pronged approach that addresses both symptoms and root causes,” said the Chinese President.
The sessions on Sunday began with Modi targeting Pakistan and calling it the “mothership” of terrorism. “In our own region, terrorism poses a grave threat to peace, security and development. Tragically, the mothership of terrorism is a country in India’s neighbourhood. Terror modules around the world are linked to this mothership. This country not just shelters terrorists. It nurtures a mindset. A mindset that loudly proclaims that terrorism is justified for political gains. It is a mindset that we strongly condemn. And against which we, as BRICS, need to stand and act together. BRICS must speak in one voice against this threat,” said Modi at the inaugural session of the BRICS summit.
A couple of hours later, while making the country’s statement at the BRICS leaders’ session, his message was meant for both Pakistan and China. “Our response to terrorism must, therefore, be nothing less than comprehensive. And we need to act both individually and collectively. Selective approaches to terrorist individuals and organisations will not only be futile but also counter-productive.There must be no distinction based on artificial and self-serving grounds,” he said.
His comment on “artificial and self-serving grounds” was a clear indication of India’s disappointment with Beijing over the Masood Azhar issue. China recently put a “technical hold”, once again, on designating Azhar — accused in the Pathankot attack in January this year and the Parliament attack in 2001 — as an international terrorist at the UN.
“Criminality should be the only basis for punitive action against the individuals and organisations responsible for carrying out terrorist acts. Terrorist funding, their weapons supply, training and political support must be systematically cut off,” Modi said.
Later, while addressing the BIMSTEC summit in the evening, he said that in South Asia and BIMSTEC, “all nation states, barring one, are motivated to pursue a path of peace, development and economic prosperity for its people. Unfortunately, this country in India’s neighbourhood…embraces and radiates the darkness of terrorism.”
“Terrorism has become its favorite child. And, the child in turn has come to define the fundamental character and nature of its parent. The time for condemning the state-sponsored terrorism is long gone. It is time to stand up and act, and act decisively. It is, therefore, imperative for BRICS and BIMSTEC to create a comprehensive response to secure our societies against the perpetrators of terror,” he said.
“To those who nurture the philosophy of terror, and seek to de-humanise mankind, we must send a clear message to mend their ways or be isolated in the civilised world,” he said.
READ | Unanimity in BRICS on combating cross-border terror and its supporters
But, with differing views of other BRICS countries, particularly China and Russia, the five expansive and strongly-worded paragraphs on terrorism in the 109-para Goa declaration, did not mention the Uri attack.
Indian officials, however, took comfort in the fact that it called upon all countries to work together to “expedite” the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UNGA “without any further delay”.
This was something that National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval had impressed upon his BRICS counterparts to put back on the agenda, as it had been dropped in the Ufa declaration of 2015. CCIT had been mentioned in the BRICS statement in 2014.
The Goa declaration made a reiteration of the condemnation of terrorism, a practice followed in Ufa as well. “We strongly condemn the recent several attacks, against some BRICS countries, including that in India. We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stress that there can be no justification whatsoever for any acts of terrorism, whether based upon ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic or any other reasons. We agree to strengthen cooperation in combating international terrorism both at the bilateral level and at international fora,” the Goa declaration said.
“To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, we support and emphasise the need for launching multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, including at the conference on disarmament. In this context, we welcome India’s offer to host a conference in 2018 aimed at strengthening international resolve in facing the challenge of the WMD-terrorism nexus,” the declaration said.
“We call upon all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, which should include countering violent extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, radicalisation, recruitment, movement of terrorists including foreign terrorist fighters, blocking sources of financing terrorism, including through organised crime by means of money-laundering, drug trafficking, criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases, and countering misuse of the Internet including social media by terror entities through misuse of the latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Successfully combating terrorism requires a holistic approach. All counter-terrorism measures should uphold international law and respect human rights,” it said.
“We acknowledge that international terrorism, especially the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Daesh) and affiliated terrorist groups and individuals, constitute a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security. Stressing UN’s central role in coordinating multilateral approaches against terrorism, we urge all nations to undertake effective implementation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and reaffirm our commitment on increasing the effectiveness of the UN counter terrorism framework. We call upon all nations to work together to expedite the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN General Assembly without any further delay. We recall the responsibility of all states to prevent terrorist actions from their territories,” the declaration said.