7 September 2017

BRICS lists Pak-based JeM, LeT as global terror groups

Atul Aneja

The grouping expressed concern over the security situation in the region

The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping of the five emerging economies has unequivocally named the Pakistan based groups Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as terror organisations, removing a key irritant in ties between New Delhi and Beijing and stepping up the fight against global extremism.

A Joint communiqué released at the BRICS summit on Monday expressed concern about the regional security situation and listed Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir as sources of violence.

Asked if the declaration will advance the effort to impose a UN ban on Masood Azhar, as an international terrorist, Priti Saran, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs said: “The declaration has been endorsed by all the BRICS leaders, so obviously it has the approval and endorsement of all the countries.”

Making her point unambiguous that the formulation adopted at the ninth BRICS will strengthen the fight on banning terrorists and terror groups at the United Nations, Ms. Saran said: “The BRICS leaders called for greater efficiency in designation of terrorists and terror groups by United Nations Committee on terrorism.”

BRICS position underscores a shift in China position

Analysts say the BRICS position underscores a shift in China’s position, on hyphenating its ties with India with its relationship with Pakistan. In the past, Beijing has repeatedly asked for a “technical hold” in designating the head of Pakistan based JeM as in international terrorist in the United Nations Security Council 1267 committee—a move that seemed to reflect its special ties with Islamabad.

The joint statement, without exception also deplored “all terrorist attacks worldwide,” including attacks in BRICS countries. It condemned “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever and stress that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.”

The uncomplicated formulation seemed to endorse New Delhi’s stand that there can been no distinction between terror groups, which was highlighted when it said in the context of Taliban that that there can be no “good terrorists and bad terrorists”. In response to a question, Ms. Saran explained: “Terrorism is a scourge that has to be addressed collectively, by the entire international community. And I think increasingly there is a realisation that you cannot have double standards in tackling this scourge. You cannot have good and bad terrorists.”

Combat against global terrorism

Stepping up the combat against global terrorism further at the international level, India is now planning to hold a global conference on countering radicalisation, Ms. Saran said. “On countering radicalisation, India in the context of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the BRICS offered to organise a global conference on countering radicalisation. Countries with a positive experience on this will be able to share their experience (at this conference).

Observers point out that by converging on counterterrorism, India and China are taking a big confidence building step especially in the context of the recent military tensions at the Doklam plateau.

Ahead of a one-on-one meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping slated for Tuesday, India has signaled that it wants to open a new chapter in ties with China.

“We want to bury the ghost of D-word (Doklam) in our engagement in the future,” an official source who did not wish to be named said. “This will be the central message that the Prime Minster would like to convey during his visit to Xiamen,” he observed.

It was as yet not clear India-China teis have reached an inflection point in the post-Doklam phase. But ahead of the summit of the five emerging economies, the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi had also advocated the formation of a “different mechanism”, that will obviate Doklam-like situation on the borders “in the long-run”.

Besides, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday had also highlighted the urgency of avoiding “confrontation” as the security template for the five emerging economies, which are setting course on the second decade of their collaboration. He underscored that the BRICS grouping must uphold the value of diplomacy to resolve “hotspot issues”.

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