Amid the growing perception about the lack of consensus at the BRICS summit on New Delhi’s concerns over the Pakistan-origin terrorism, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has renewed the focus on state-sponsored terrorism and underlined that terrorism “featured strongly in the summit’s narrative and its eventual outcome.” The minister also argued for taking steps to make it costly for those who sponsor and support terrorism.
“While our economic engagement and political cooperation remained key factors, there was a sharp realization that global development and prosperity was very much dependent on continued peace and security. Terrorism was universally recognized as a key threat to stability, progress and development,” Ms Swaraj said at the BRICS Media Forum held in New Delhi on October 18. The forum brought together leading journalists and opinion-makers from India, Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.
“Consequently, it featured strongly in the conference narrative and its eventual outcome. Indeed, what we saw was not just an understanding of the dangers posed by terrorism to the economic aspirations of the world but a growing recognition that this has now become a truly global challenge that the international community can only ignore at its peril,” said the minister.
No more business as usual
Alluding to the quality of discussions at the October 15-16 BRICS summit in Goa, Ms Swaraj underlined that “there is a developing consensus that it cannot be business as usual.” “We must be prepared to extract costs for those who sponsor and support terrorists, who provide them sanctuary, and who, despite their own claimed victimhood, continue to make the false distinction between good and bad terrorists,” said the minister.
“BRICS has always been global in its approach and today, there is no bigger global challenge than state-sponsored and state-protected terrorism,” said the minister.
The Goa Declaration issued at the end of the 8th BRICS summit has come out with a strong and comprehensive statement on terrorism, but does not contain references to cross-border terrorism and acting against states that sponsor terrorism. India pitched hard for including these expressions as an indictment of Pakistan’s role in perpetrating terror attacks in India, including the assault on Uri Army camp, but China, Pakistan’s influential supporter, came in the way.
BIMSTEC opposite of terror-sponsoring polity
Compared to the BRICS summit, the seven-nation BIMSTEC came out with a more pointed joint formulation on terrorism, and strongly rallied in the support of India by endorsing the latter’s concerns over cross-border terrorism.
“The selection of BIMSTEC as the outreach group for the Goa Summit of the BRICS is also worth reflecting upon. Members of BIMSTEC- Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand – today represent the polar opposite of a terrorism promoting polity,” said Swaraj. “Their interface with the BRICS has a message in itself. This is that a world changing in a positive direction as reflected by the BRICS has its regional expression in a community like BIMSTEC that is able to visualize a prosperous collective future,” the minister said while alluding to the BRICS-BIMSTEC outreach meeting in Goa.
In a damning critique of Pakistan’s pursuit of cross-border terror and obstructionist attitude, the minister said: “There cannot be a greater contrast with those who reject even trade and connectivity for political reasons.” Reaching to such forums that exclude terror sponsoring countries is necessary to shape mechanisms to fight terrorism, she stressed.
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