India on Monday asked the BRICS nations to shed the ambiguity on “good” and “bad” terrorists, an apparent reference to Pakistan and back its efforts for the adoption of a comprehensive convention on terrorism at the UN.
India’s assertion came as the foreign ministers of the five-nation bloc met here and forged consensus on evolving a common strategy to combat the growing menace of terrorism.
Pressing Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa at its first Foreign Ministers meeting ahead of this year’s Summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen, Minister of State for External Affairs General (retd) V K Singh said that there was no good or bad terrorists as all of them should be treated as criminals threatening global peace.
“Everyone agrees that terrorism is a common enemy of mankind. Everybody is fully concerned about threat of terrorism in various manifestations,” Singh said, addressing a joint press conference with the foreign ministers from the BRICS countries in their first stand-alone meeting to work out the agenda for the Xiamen summit.
“We also ask for expediting the adoption of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism in the UN which has been pending for some time. We have the support of all members of BRICS nations,” he said.
Responding to questions over concerns on cross border terrorism from Pakistan, Singh said, “on behalf of India I pointed out that terrorism remains one of the most potent global menace”.
“We did bring out that it threatens global peace and terrorists cannot be differentiated by calling them good or bad,” he said, without directly referring to China blocking the efforts by India, the US and other countries to bring about a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leader Masood Azhar for his involvement in the Pathankot terror attack.
“They are terrorists and they are criminals and we need to have a concerted action both in the regional and internationally to curb their activities,” Singh said.
A media note of the meeting said the ministers deplored the continued terrorist attacks, including in some BRICS countries.
“They condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever. They reaffirm solidarity and resolve in the fight against terrorism, call upon the international community to establish a genuinely broad international counter-terrorism coalition and support the United Nations’ central coordinating role in the international counter-terrorism cooperation,” the statement said.
The leaders recalled the responsibility of all states to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories and called upon an expedited adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN General Assembly, it said.
Earlier, speaking at the BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting, Singh said BRICS countries have reached significant understanding on security and counter terrorism issues as the five-member bloc of emerging economies expanded steadily in the international arena.
“Besides cooperating on financial issues, the BRICS agenda has witnessed steady expansion,” he said.
The BRICS joint working group mechanism has concluded in May 2017, Singh said, adding that the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of the BRICS countries are due to meet next month ahead of this year’s summit.
In Delhi meeting last year, they (NSAs) had reached significant understanding on matters of security and counter terrorism, Singh said.
Backing Singh, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China was opposed to terrorism in all forms and it is also a victim of terrorism.
“So China is actively taking part in international cooperation against terrorism and in our own way. China is making its contribution and playing its constrictive role. On this point with all colleagues present today including Indian colleagues, China shares the same position,” he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said BRICS countries are united and their understanding of the fight against terrorism. He said there are working groups formed in the BRICS to deal with counter terrorism issues.
“It has started working already and held two sessions and its potential is quite considerable. We need take it inter-agency format. We have a common opinion. In this regard, we need to involve foreign agencies other relevant agencies involved in cantering terrorism,” he said.
“It is clear that we cannot solve this problem by ourselves need a broad anti-terror front,” he said.
Russia will actively support UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterres’ recent suggestion to the UN General Assembly to create a new UN office in New York to coordinate the fight against terrorism, Lavrov said.
The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to safeguarding the purposes and principles of the UN charter as well as a fair and just international order, the media note of the meeting said.
The ministers also welcomed the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change on November 4, 2016, and urged all countries to implement the accord under the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change including the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
The discussion of the Paris deal at the meeting assumes significance as it comes after President Donald Trump announced the US’ withdrawal from the landmark pact.
On climate change, the foreign ministers called upon developed countries to fulfil their commitment to provide necessary financing, technology transfer and capacity building support to developing countries.
The ministers reiterated that the only lasting solution to the Syria crisis is an inclusive “Syrian-led, Syrian-owned” political process which safeguard the state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria, in pursuance of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.
The ministers’ strongly supported the Geneva peace talks and the Astana process, and welcomed the creation of the de-escalation areas in Syria. They opposed the use of chemical weapons by anyone, for any purpose and under any circumstance.
They reaffirmed their support to the process of “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” national reconciliation, the ongoing international efforts in support of achieving practical results in that regard, combating terrorism and drug-threat, and support the national reconstruction efforts.
The ministers supported the efforts of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in fighting against terror organisations.
“The ministers are concerned by the threats and challenges posed by the use of ICTs for criminal and terrorist purposes and the weaponisation of outer space and arms race there,” it said.