13th BRICS summit National

BRICS seeks ‘inclusive’ intra-Afghan dialogue

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs the 13th BRICS Summit through video conferencing from New Delhi on September 9, 2021. Photo: PIB via PTI  

The 13th BRICS summit held virtually on Thursday, called for an “inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue” for stability in Afghanistan.

The virtual summit, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was dominated by the developments in Afghanistan, and adopted the BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan.

“We have also adopted the BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan. With the agreement on Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation between our space agencies, a new chapter of cooperation has begun,” Mr. Modi said, highlighting the key items on the agenda of the summit.

The discussion on Afghanistan at the event attended by the leaders of India, Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa was held in the backdrop of the Taliban announcing an interim government in Kabul.

The BRICS leaders called for “settling the situation by peaceful means” and condemned the terrorist attacks at the Hamid Karzai International Airport which killed at least 100 persons including several American military personnel.

“We stress the need to contribute to fostering an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue so as to ensure stability, civil peace, law and order in the country. We underscore the priority of fighting terrorism, including preventing attempts by terrorist organisations to use Afghan territory as terrorist sanctuary and to carry out attacks against other countries,” declared a joint statement issued at the end of the summit meeting.

The document, titled the ‘New Delhi Declaration’, also called for addressing the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and urged the need to uphold rights of women, children and minorities.

The meeting gave an opportunity to the BRICS countries to discuss the situation in Afghanistan especially as two of the five members of the organisation — Russia and China — continue to have a diplomatic presence in Kabul where a Taliban interim government is expected to take formal charge in few days.

BRICS countries are evidently divided on the issue of engagement with the Taliban with Russia and China adopting a proactive policy on the issue. A Russian media report informed that the Taliban has invited Turkey, Qatar, China and Iran to the upcoming swearing-in ceremony. China on Thursday extended an emergency aid of $31 million to Afghanistan to help the Taliban run the government.

The summit emphasised the importance of the principle of “non-interference” in international affairs and said disputes and conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means.

Explaining India's concerns, Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Sanjay Bhattacharya said, “There is a very strong consensus. Afghanistan should not become a reason for problems in the neighbourhood.”

The summit meeting was also addressed by the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, who remarked that Afghanistan has a new crisis.

“The withdrawal of U.S. forces and its allies from Afghanistan has led to a new crisis, and it’s still unclear how this will affect global and regional security. It is for good reason that our countries have paid special attention to this issue,” said President Putin.

Apart from Afghanistan, the BRICS leaders also took up the conflicts in Myanmar, Syria, the tension in the Korean peninsula, Israel-Palestine violence and other territorial disputes.

“We underscore the inadmissibility of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations,” stated the New Delhi Declaration.

The summit’also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and the strategy to strengthen counter-pandemic cooperation and multilateral reform. The New Delhi Declaration called against playing politics with the pandemic and the COVID-19 virus and urged for a global effort to eradicate the virus.

“We support science-based, inclusive of broad expertise, transparent and timely processes, free from politicisation or interference to strengthen international capabilities to better understand the emergence of novel pathogens and to help prevent future pandemics,” stated the Declaration. The summit called for reform of the UN Security Council and urged to “revitalise” of the UN General Assembly.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 4:14:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/brics-seeks-inclusive-intra-afghan-dialogue/article36390830.ece

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