Road from Paris for G-20

Updated - November 17, 2021 02:01 am IST

Published - November 17, 2015 12:35 am IST

The >terrorist attacks in Paris have given the world the necessary urgency for a united fight against Islamic State (ISIS). Given their scale and specifics, the global response was bound to be swift and collaborative. In the event, the G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey >became a timely platform to launch this fight . As leaders of the world’s biggest economies gathered, it was heartening to see the pull-aside meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who set aside their differences to speak about a common strategy to target ISIS. Until last week, the two had been pitted on opposite sides, with western-backed rebel groups and Russian-backed Syrian forces engaging in what many feared could spill over into something much larger. Besides getting the U.S. and Russia on the same page, it will be equally important that G-20 leaders take away from the summit a commitment on stopping all the routes of finance and arms to ISIS. This is important because in the past, ISIS, or Daesh, has benefited from the world’s disunity over policies on Syria, which meant that countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey were able to arm, support and supply fighters for anti-Assad rebel groups in Syria, support that eventually found its way to ISIS that has become a dominant force in the area. Europe, especially France and the U.K., as well as the U.S. have been guilty of turning a blind eye to this support for several years, in the hope that they would see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad toppled. Unless the G-20 agrees to stop all such support, put aside its concerns over Mr. Assad’s regime and target ISIS in a concerted manner, all the outrage over the attacks on Friday will not produce results.

It is here that India, thus far silent on the Syria question, is now trying to have its voice heard with >Prime Minister Modi’s intervention at the G-20 , where he proposed a 10-point strategy to “tackle terrorism together”. These include obvious actions on isolating sponsors of terrorism, monitoring cyberspace and financial activities, and cooperation and intelligence-sharing across the world. It also includes the demand for the UN to finally push through the comprehensive convention on international terrorism (CCIT), that India proposed in 1996 and has since demanded consistently, especially in the wake of 26/11. Movement on this convention has only been held up because countries remain disunited on their definitions of terrorism. ISIS’s actions should clarify that definition. States or groups that carry out attacks on non-combatant civilians must now face the world’s unequivocal spotlight, without shadow areas where they may take comfort. The road to the G-20 summit’s most pressing obligation has come from Paris. It is important that they set the course for action against ISIS in the next few weeks, till world leaders meet again, at the COP21 summit in Paris, and complete the circle.

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