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Pakistan shadow on BRICS? Terror high on Xiamen summit agenda

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Astana: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on Friday. PTI Photo (PTI6_9_2017_000052B)

XIAMEN (China): In the picturesque coastal city of Xiamen, better known for its noodles, entrepreneurial drive and touristy beaches, terror is not what you think about, but when the leaders of BRICS countries meet for their 9th annual summit here on September 4, enhancing counter-terror cooperation will be on top of the agenda.

By and large, there is a robust BRICS consensus on collectively dealing with the scourge of terrorism, but Pakistan-origin terrorism continues to be a source of dissonance between India and China. At the last BRICS summit in Goa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a blistering attack on Pakistan and sought BRICS support in isolating Islamabad for its dubious role in using terror as an instrument of state policy. But he didn’t succeed in getting a reference to Pakistan included in the Goa joint statement, largely due to Beijing’s fierce objections. This time round, China has gone a step further by pre-setting the agenda by making it clear that Pakistan’s role in fostering and sheltering terrorism is not “an appropriate subject appropriate topic to be discussed at BRICS summit.”

“We also noticed that India, when it comes to Pakistan’s counter-terrorism, has some concerns. I don’t think this is an appropriate topic to be discussed at BRICS summit,” Hua Chunying, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said in Beijing on August 30.

“The world is paying great attention to the BRICS summit. I hope relevant parties can work with China to ensure the success of the summit and make due contributions,” Hua said.

Beijing’s remarks came days after US President Donald Trump unveiled his Afghanistan policy, which envisages a bigger role for India in Afghanistan and asks Pakistan to cease support to terrorists and safe havens. China was the only country which promptly rallied to Pakistan’s defence and underscored Pakistan’s role in counter-terror cooperation.

Buoyed by Trump’s frontal expose of Pakistan’s role in fomenting terrorism in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to highlight India’s concerns on Pakistan’s role in cross-border terrorism, at the Xiamen summit. But given the all-weather friendship between China and Pakistan, Beijing is unlikely to allow any reference to Pakistan-based terrorism except in general terms about safe havens for terror.

In his speech at the BRICS Business Forum, which opened in Xiamen on September 3, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a holistic approach to fighting terrorism. “I am convinced that as long as we take a holistic approach to fighting terrorism in all its forms, and address both its symptoms and root causes, terrorists will have no place to hide,” he said.

Besides terrorism, the Xiamen summit is going to focus on enhanced BRICS cooperation in spurring global economic growth and the grouping’s role as a shield against regressive protectionist forces gaining ground in large swathes of the developed world. The summit is also likely to flesh out the contours of an independent BRICS credit rating agency for emerging economies, which could provide an alternative to the rating business dominated by Western agencies.

 

 


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Manish Chand is Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network, www.indiawrites.org, a portal and e-magazine focused on international affairs, emerging powers and the India Story.

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