Millennium Post

India to push for jt efforts to fight terrorism at BRICS meet

India will strongly push at the BRICS Summit for joint efforts to tackle terrorism including action against countries providing safe havens and arms to terrorists while it will also make efforts to revive the seven-nation regional bloc BIMSTEC next week in Goa.

Apart from the heads of governments of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa to attend BRICS Summit on October 16, India has also received consent of Prime Ministers of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar (State Counsellor) for the outreach meet of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

Briefing reporters, Secretary (Economic Relations) in External Affairs Ministry Amar Sinha said, “Agenda is drawn in a broad-brush manner. We will be looking at global economic and political situation. Obviously terrorism is very important part of that.” 

Though he said the issue of China blocking ban of Jaish- e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar by the UN will not be taken up at BRICS because it was a bilateral issue with China and India does not want to bring such issues to the multilateral fora, he asserted that general principles pertaining to terrorism will be forcefully taken up.

And that will include “terrorism which is a global problem. It cannot be tackled individually and has to be tackled collectively. We cannot have a differential policy towards terrorism. There is no good terrorist or bad terrorist. So, these are the issues on which there will reiteration of national positions,” Sinha said.

He added that “there would be very strong paragraphs (in the BRICS outcome document) on terrorism including how to deal with countries that provide sanctuaries and safe havens. How to cut down the financing.

“At NSA-level meet, we have also actually shifted the goalpost a little by talking about not only sources of finances but also sources from where they (terrorists) get arms and ammunition. These will be reflected in the BRICS discussions.” 

India will also make efforts to revive BIMSTEC which assumes significance with the collapse of recent SAARC Summit after four countries apart from India pulled out of the meet to be hosted by Pakistan over the issue of cross-border terrorism, maintaining that environment was not conducive to hold such an event.

Three MoUs including those on cooperation in the area of environment and customs have been agreed upon by the BRICS countries, Sinha said, adding the pact pertaining to customs will help in breaking the trade barriers between these countries.

The other key issues to be taken up during these significant diplomatic outreach events include cooperation areas of economy, tourism, connectivity, cultural, education and sports. 

The main BRICS Summit on October 16 will begin with a photo opportunity followed by restricted talks between the leaders and later a meeting of business captains from the member-countries. In the second half, after the speech of the leaders, there will be BRICS and BIMSTEC retreat.

On BIMSTEC, Secretary (East) in MEA said Preeti Saran said the directions by the leaders will be followed to “reinvigorate and rejuvenate” the grouping while noting that since the regional bloc was celebrating 20 years it was the best time to do so.

There are no differences between the BIMSTEC countries whether it is an issue of terrorism or connectivity, the bloc has “positive agenda” which will be discussed and taken forward, Saran said.

Security situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan is also expected to be discussed when the BRICS leaders take up important regional and international issues.

The sherpas of BRICS countries will be finalising the draft outcome document in next few days and India is also expected to propose a BRICS fund for Syria. 

Noting that in the absence of global legal regime or Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), Sinha said there was a view among the BRICS countries that they should cooperate in the area of counter-terrorism even if there was no agreement on the definition of it.

India-initiated CCIT is stuck at the UN as there is no agreement among the UN members on the definition of terrorism.

Asked if there will be any expansion of BRICS, Sinha said there was no thought of expansion and in fact, the grouping was in the consolidation stage.
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