The 8th BRICS summit ended here on Sunday with the adoption of the Goa Declaration which pledged opposition to terrorism, even as India failed to get a consensus on references to “cross-border terror” and Pakistan-based terror groups in the final statement.
However, in a strongly worded statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “the most serious direct threat to our economic prosperity is terrorism. Tragically, its mother-ship is a country in India’s neighbourhood.”
The text of the declaration did not name any country specifically as the source of cross-border terrorism but officials maintained that India did get the diplomatic edge it wanted from the summit.
“I guess it does not concern them mainly, BRICS. It affects us. Because Pakistan-based outfits are also focused on India in terms of activities... so since... (it does not affect them), I guess we could not get a consensus on actually including both. But if you see, it says ISIS and various other affiliated organisations and I think there is a reference of terrorist organisations which are designated by the U.N.” said Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations), explaining that the statement covered India’s ongoing campaign to bring a comprehensive international legal framework against terrorism under the UN.
Introducing the Goa Declaration, Prime Minister Modi said, “We also agreed that those who nurture, shelter, support and sponsor such forces of violence and terror are as much a threat to us as the terrorists themselves.”
Reflecting international concern, the Goa Declaration of the BRICS summit, which concluded here on Sunday, pointed out the need for countering the Islamic State which has occupied territories in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Specifically mentioning the Arabic acronym of IS, Daesh, it said the threat posed by the group is “unprecedented” and called for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the U.N. General Assembly.
Syrian civil war
The declaration called for resolution of the civil war in Syria, in accordance with the “legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria” and sought action against U.N.-designated terrorist groups like IS and Jabhat al-Nusra.
The final statement also called for all nations to counter radicalism, and block sources of financing international terrorism, “including through organised crime by means of money-laundering, drug trafficking, criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases and countering misuse of the Internet including social media by terror entities through misuse of the latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)”.
The Ministry of External Affairs, however, pointed out that the BRICS cannot be reduced to the specifics of terrorism alone.
New Delhi’s concern about cross-border terrorism has been an underlying factor at the Goa BRICS summit and the various bilateral meetings that India held over the last two days here.
Before the beginning of the summit, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said that India thanked Russia for its “unequivocal condemnation” of terrorism after the September 18 Uri attack that killed 19 soldiers.
Prime Minister Modi spoke against terrorism in his speech during the 17th India-Russia summit that was held on Saturday and pitched for the blacklisting of Masood Azhar, the Pakistan-based leader of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, at the United Nations, in his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.