Xiamen breakthrough: Brics declaration condemns Pakistan based terror groups for first time

Sep 5, 2017
In a diplomatic breakthrough, the Xiamen Brics declaration has condemned terrorism in all its forms, and named Pakistan-based terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammed and the Haqqani Network. This is not only the first time that the Pakistani groups have been mentioned in a Brics declaration, it also comes after last year’s summit in Goa where efforts to condemn the outfits were blocked by Chinese recalcitrance. In this context, it’s significant that the latest declaration comes at a summit hosted in China. After the Doklam standoff, some quarters had expected Beijing to harden its position against Indian interests. Besides, in the run up to the Brics summit Beijing had warned New Delhi not to raise the issue of Pakistan-based terrorism at Xiamen.
That China did eventually relent on including Pakistani terror outfits in the Brics declaration suggests that New Delhi’s firmness and persistence in flagging the issue has paid off. But apart from that, US President Donald Trump calling out Pakistan for sheltering terror groups may have had an effect on Beijing – which otherwise turns a blind eye towards them in an attempt to cushion Pakistan, which it considers a strategic ally.
It would be wrong to see the declaration as a diplomatic ‘victory’ for India. Terror groups operating out of Pakistan share logistics, resources and ideology. Targeting just those which take aim at one’s own country while turning a blind eye to the others – in an exceedingly narrow definition of national interest – is self-defeating. Neither is it tenable to claim – as Islamabad often argues and Beijing reiterates – that Pakistan has made the most ‘sacrifices’ in fighting terror, as those are the inevitable consequences of selectively nurturing terror groups (in the end, such nurturing can never be selective). It is therefore in Pakistan’s own interest – and Beijing too should be nudging it towards this point of view as Islamabad’s trusted ally – to end such support.
Following the Xiamen declaration New Delhi should renew its efforts to get Jaish chief Masood Azhar proscribed by the UN, and Beijing should drop its objections there. At the Brics summit and elsewhere Chinese President Xi Jinping has, correctly and commendably, spoken up for global cooperation. But that is not compatible with riding roughshod over Indian interests. Ultimately, China must realise that terrorism emanating from Pakistan harms everyone’s interests, including Chinese ones.
Times of India, September 5, 2017

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