China on Monday said that Pakistan-based terrorist outfits like JeM, LeT and the Haqqani network have been included in the BRICS joint declaration due to concerns about their violent activities in the region. Defending the move to include these terror groups for the first time in the BRICS joint declaration, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said BRICS countries have “shown their concerns to the violent activities raised by these organisations”.
“These organisations are all sanctioned by the UN Security Council and have a significant impact for Afghanistan issue,” Geng told reporters in a written response to a strong reference in the BRICS countries about these terror groups. He, however, skirted a response to a question on whether the naming of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) by the BRICS in which China is a prominent member marks a change in Beijing’s stand of opposing the UN ban against the group’s chief Masood Azhar.
“On the counter terrorism cooperation among the BRICS countries, we are very satisfied with the achievements made by the BRICS. We have a working group on terrorism,” he said. The 43-page ‘Xiamen Declaration’, adopted at the end of the five-nation BRICS plenary, expressed “concern” over the security situation in the region and the violence caused by the Taliban, ISIS, al-Qaeda and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Hizb ut-Tahrir.
While JeM, LeT and Haqqani network are from Pakistan, Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement is fighting for a separate Uygur Muslim province in China’s Xinjiang and it has bases in Pakistan. This is for the first time China has agreed to include Pakistan-based terror groups in BRICS declaration. In the last two years, China has stonewalled efforts by India and then later by the US, the UK and France to declare Azhar as a terrorist, stating that there is no consensus on the issue.