In a big win for India’s campaign against terrorism emanating from Pakistan, BRICS countries on Monday named Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in their joint declaration while calling for a comprehensive approach to combat terrorism.
The 43-page declaration of the 9th BRICS Summit equated the LeT and JeM — which New Delhi has blamed for terror attacks in India — as well as TTP (Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan) with the Islamic State and Al Qaeda and deplored their acts.
Last year, at the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa, China had reportedly opposed the inclusion of the Pakistan-backed terrorist outfits in the declaration.
China has in the past shielded its “all-weather ally” Pakistan even after Islamabad was pilloried by India, the US and other countries for harbouring terrorists.
“We express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al Qaeda and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad(JeM), TTP (Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan) and Hizb ut-Tahrir,” said the Xiamen declaration.
The mention of LeT and JeM is seen as a takeaway for India from this summit as it has reflected a slight shift in China stance.
JeM chief Masood Azhar has been blamed for deadly cross-border terror attacks on Indian military establishments. India has moved the UN to declare him an international terrorist but China has repeatedly put a hold on the proposal.
The LeT was held responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 Indians and foreigners.
Asked if it will help India’s case to designate Azhar as an international terrorist, Preeti Saran, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said: “The declaration has been endorsed by all the BRICS leaders. So obviously it has the approval and endorsement of all the countries.”
Questioned further about China’s mind on the issue, Saran said: “You should not address this question to me.
“We have worked collectively in formulating this document which has gone through of course consensus process. So I can tell you that it has been endorsed and approved by all the leaders of five countries is very important.”
The summit was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Presidents Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Michel Temer of Brazil and Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
The Xiamen declaration condemned terrorism in all its its forms and manifestations, saying there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism. And it deplored all terror attacks worldwide, including in BRICS countries.
Without naming Pakistan, the statement said: “We reaffirm that those responsible for committing, organising or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable.
“Recalling the primary leading role and responsibility of states in preventing and countering terrorism, we stress the necessity to develop international cooperation, in accordance with the principles of international law, including that of sovereign equality of states and non-interference in their internal affairs.”
The BRICS countries backed the efforts of the Afghan security forces to defeat terrorism.
“We strongly condemn terrorist attacks resulting in death to innocent Afghan nationals. There is a need for immediate cessation of violence.”
It added: “We call upon all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, which should include countering radicalization, recruitment, movement of terrorists including foreign terrorist fighters, blocking sources of financing terrorism including, for instance, through organised crime by means of money-laundering, supply of weapons, drug trafficking and other criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases, and countering misuse of the internet including social media by terrorist entities through misuse of the latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
“We are committed to prevent and counter the growing spread of terrorist narratives and to tackle all sources, techniques and channels of terrorist financing… We recall the responsibility of all States to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories.”
The declaration urged the international community to establish a genuinely broad international counter-terrorism coalition and support the UN’s central coordinating role in this regard.
“We stress that the fight against terrorism must be conducted in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the UN, international refugee and humanitarian law, human rights and fundamental freedoms…
“We call for expeditious finalization and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the UN General Assembly.”