Xiamen, Sept 5: In a significant move that might have its far reaching ramifications in combating terrorism, the BRICS leaders on Monday mentioned Pakistan-based terrorist groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jais-e-Mohammaed with the global terror groups Islamic State and al Qaeda, thus endorsing the Indian line on terror as a global threat and underlining a diplomatic victory for India’s efforts to counter cross-border terrorism.
By including the names of these two terrorist organisations in Xiamen Declaration to which China is also one of the signatories despite its tilt towards Pakistan, the BRICS leaders expressed ‘concern; on the security situation in the region and violence caused by these terror outfits.
This is first time that the BRICS Declaration has named the Islamic terror groups and China which has always tried to support Pakistan, has endorsed the declaration. The other terror groups included in the Xiamen Declaration are the Haqqani Network, Taliban and Islamic State besides the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, a Muslim separatist group set up by militant Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking ethnic group in China’s Xinjiang province.
The 43-page Xiamen declaration, with 17 references to terrorism, made it clear that India had been able to convince others in the grouping about the threat posed by Pakistan-based organisations as the document also contained references to above mentioned groups.
“We deplore all terrorist attacks worldwide, including attacks in BRICS countries, and condemn terrorism in all its forms...,” said the declaration released after the plenary session of the 9th Brics summit.
“We...express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani Network, Laskar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb-ut-Tahrir,” it said.
The document did not specify which region it was referring to but added: “We reaffirm that those responsible for committing, organizing or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable.”
Monday’s statement was a marked departure from earlier BRICS statements - the declaration issued after last year’s summit in Goa referred to terrorism several times but only named one group, the Islamic State.
There have been reports that cadres of the ETIM, which China accuses of fomenting terrorism in its restive Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, have been trained in Pakistan’s tribal belt.
“For the first time (in a BRICS declaration), there has been a specific listing of terror organisations,” Preeti Saran, Joint Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry and one of India’s lead negotiators for the Xiamen Declaration, told a media briefing.
Saran said Prime Minister Modi had mentioned the need to jointly fight terror at the restricted session of Brics leaders on Monday morning. Modi proposed a mechanism to fight spreading radicalisation and added that India could host an international conference on the issue.
China said Pakistan-based groups such as JeM, LeT and the Haqqani Network were included in the Brics declaration because of concerns about their violent activities in the region. Defending the move to include them in the declaration for the first time, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said BRICS countries have “shown their concerns to the violent activities raised by these organisations”.
The terror aspect of the declaration showed that countries now agree the menace needs to be tackled. “Terrorism is a scourge that has to be addressed by the entire international community. You cannot have double standards in tackling terrorism. You cannot have good (or) bad terrorism,” Saran said.
The Xiamen Declaration also deplored all terrorist attacks worldwide and condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed by whomsoever. Stating that there can be no justification for such acts, the Declaration said, “We reaffirm that those responsible for committing organizing or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable”.