BRICS, the bloc of emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has finally named several terror groups, including those operating out of Pakistan, for posing a threat to the region at its summit in Xiamen, China on Monday.
But it is doubtful whether the five countries will stand united in acting against these terror groups.
Without naming Pakistan, the BRICS Xiamen Declaration has expressed concern over the violence unleashed by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) operating from that country. It even compared LeT and JeM to the dreaded Islamic State (IS).
The declaration called for an immediate end to violence in Afghanistan and elsewhere by terror groups like the Haqqani group, Islamic State (IS), Al Qaeda and Taliban. But will this apparent bonhomie and cooperation on terrorism last?
China has been an all-weather ally to Pakistan and in the past blocked the India-sponsored efforts at the UN to designate JeM leader Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. On Monday, China parried questions on whether it will change its position on Azhar in the light of Xiamen declaration.
Days before the summit, China said it would be inappropriate for India to discuss the threat posed by Pakistani terror groups at Xiamen. But on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ignored the suggestion and emphatically called for a sustained war against terrorism and the majority of the delegates attending the summit supported him.
At the previous BRICS meet in Goa, Modi had described Pakistan as a “mother-ship” of terrorism and demanded action against terror groups operating from there.
The naming of terror groups LeT and JeM by BRICS comes barely two weeks after US President Donald Trump warned Pakistan over the “safe havens” provided by Islamabad to extremists. But chances of China supporting a UN move to ban Azhar seems remote.
The BRICS declaration comes hours before bilateral talks between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The talks are part of a big confidence building exercise a week after the 73-day military standoff between their armies ended at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction.
Both leaders are expected to discuss the standoff and resumption of border talks to avert similar situations in the future.
Tensions between the two Asia neighbors has escalated significantly, as Chinese military incursions in disputed areas and the recent spat between the two armies has dominated the bilateral relationship. With the US under Trump is turning inward, China and India are hoping to play a more decisive role in international affairs. Obviously, this leads lead to tensions between the New Delhi and Beijing on occasion. India has rejected China’s invitation to be part of its ambitious Belt Road Initiative (BRI) earlier this year and is also opposed to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). India feels these projects will raise issue of sovereignty since they pass through areas claimed by India.
However, China could help India secure a permanent seat on the UN security council, in exchange for India softening its stand on the BRI. They are also stakeholders in the BRICS Bank, with an Indian banker heading it. There is cautious optimism with China agreeing to name Pakistan-based terror organizations in the joint statement, and perhaps a glimmer of hope of a significant partnership in the future.
Let there be peace in the region with China and India coming together in a big way. They should lead Asia and the entire world. Sceptics should stop reading too much into Dhoklam incident.
What a contrast — Indian and Chinese troops standing eyeball to eyeball at Dhoklam and Modi and Xi shaking hands at Brics meet. In politics nothing is impossible but the two countries have an obligation to their people. No more Dhoklams, please!
Like other participants, China too has endorsed BRICS declaration. So no one should question its commitment. BRICS has made a break with its past by naming the terror groups threatening them. It is a good beginning
BRICS communique naming LeT and JeM as terrorist organizations is a blow to Pakistan. All through the past summits, the economic bloc was very vague while mentioning terrorists in their declaration. The specific mention of terror groups this time shows BRICS concern over these groups. But the real test comes when they have to act against these terrorist groups.
After the Dhoklam standoff, BRICS gave China and India a great opportunity to improve their ties. But China should first accept the truth that Pakistan-based LeT and JeM are terror groups bleeding India with terror attacks. If China supports UN to name JeM chief as an international terrorist, it will help build trust between the two countries. Otherwise, Dhoklam will be repeated.
What everyone seems to have missed is naming of TTP (Tehreek Taliban of Pakistan) also as a terrorist organisation in the declaration. TTP is wholly funded and trained terrorist organisation supported by India to cause mayhem within Pakistan. India is on the hook as any other country to stop supporting terrorism.
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