At BRICS summit, India calls for action against 'hardware of terrorism'

The heads of state of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa pose for a group picture at the BRICS Summit in Goa. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Goa, India Oct 16, 2016, 07.41 PM (IST) Ramesh Ramachandran

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday kept up India's efforts to diplomatically isolate Pakistan when he used the forum of the 8th BRICS Summit at Goa to urge the international community to lean on purveyors of terror who justify the use terrorism for political gains.

Without naming Pakistan, he said that the "mother ship" of terrorism "is a country in India’s neighbourhood" and that terror modules of the world were linked to that particular country. In the same vein, he called for actions against the "hardware of terrorism", including, but not limited to, terror financing, supply of weapons and training.
In a double-barrelled attack, Mr Modi also obliquely took a swipe at China which employed the exact phrase ("political gains") to justify its opposition to a United Nations ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, who New Delhi accuses of having had a hand in a series of terrorist attacks in India, including the September 18 attack at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir. On October 10, China's Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong had said about India that no country should "pursue its own political gains in the name of counter-terrorism".

Mr Modi continued the fusillade by pointing out that those who nurture, shelter, support or sponsor terrorism are as much a threat to regional and global peace and security as terrorists themselves.

Similar sentiments found a reflection in the Goa Declaration. A relevant extract from the document read: "We strongly condemn the recent several attacks, against some BRICS countries, including that in India[.] There can be no justification whatsoever for any acts of terrorism..."

Mr Modi has been relentless in his pursuit of a proactive policy against Pakistan. He has consistently raised the issue at every multilateral fora. At the G20 Summit at China, he had this to say: "Indeed one single nation in South Asia is spreading these agents of terror in countries of our region[.]

Those who sponsor and support terrorism must be isolated and sanctioned, not rewarded."

The same narrative was heard at the East Asia Summit at Vietnam, where he spoke about a country “whose competitive advantage rests solely in producing and exporting terrorism” and that "the time has come for us to stop this global exporter of terror."

And most recently, India exercised its right of reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's address to the United Nations General Assembly speech by describing Pakistan as the "Ivy league of terrorism".

However, the jury is out on whether the Goa Declaration adopted by the BRICS member-states did justice to India's concerns about cross-border terrorism emanating from its immediate neighbourhood. On the face of it, the language of the relevant paragraphs from the Goa Declaration on the subject of terrorism are similar to the boilerplate formulation contained in some previous BRICS documents.

Asked if the outcome document, which was sanitised of specific references to either Pakistan or the terrorism directed against India, had come as a disappointment to New Delhi, Secretary (Economic Relations) Amar Sinha in the Ministry of External Affairs said, "We are satisfied[.] You don't have to spell out everything." Mr Sinha went on to suggest that the Goa Declaration should be read together with the bilateral documents agreed upon by India and the BRICS countries, which highlighted a convergence of ideas.

Although the Goa Declaration mentions the Islamic State terrorist group by name, there were no references to terror groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which could be partly be attributed to China which sees Pakistan as an all-weather ally and a countervail to India. For his part, Mr Sinha sought to explain it away by saying that the JeM "is focussed on India" and therefore "does not concern all of BRICS."