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India, China play down differences on terror at BRICS meet

Terrorism remains one of the most potent global menaces that threatens international peace and cannot be differentiated between good or bad, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh said.

world Updated: Jun 19, 2017 21:46 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
India-China relations,terrorism,minister of state VK Singh
(Left to right) Brazil's Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, South Africa's Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Indian Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh before the opening of the BRICS foreign ministers meeting in Beijing on Monday.(AFP)

India on Monday urged members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) grouping to condemn all forms of terror and not divide terrorists into good or bad ones.

“They are terrorists, they are criminals and we need to have concerted actions both regionally and internationally to curb their activities,” minister of state for external affairs VK Singh said.

Terrorism, he said, remains one of the most potent global menaces that threatens international peace and cannot be differentiated between good or bad.

Singh made the remarks while interacting with the media after the first stand-alone BRICS foreign ministers’ meet, being held in Beijing ahead of the 9th summit of the grouping in Xiamen city of Fujian province. He reiterated India’s call for expedited adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations.

“We have the support of all the BRICS countries (on this),” Singh said, adding there is a “strong consensus” among BRICS nations that all forms of terrorism must be condemned.

China, the current chair of BRICS, was quick to join India in condemning terror.

“China opposes terror in all forms. China is also victim of terror and China is taking part in global initiatives against terror. With colleagues today including Indian colleagues, China shares the same position,” foreign minister Wang Yi said while responding to a question from Hindustan Times on terror and differences on the issue within the bloc.

Both countries, at least publicly, seemed to play down differences on what India calls cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.

Singh’s comments came days after China said it was opposed to “double standards” in fighting terror ahead of the BRICS ministers’ meeting.

“On counter-terrorism we have a clear cut position that terrorism is the common enemy of mankind. We oppose any double standard adopted by countries in counter-terrorism efforts,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Friday.

New Delhi was expected to flag the issue of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, and particularly the case of Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar who has been accused of masterminding attacks in India, at the meet.

Beijing has repeatedly blocked New Delhi’s efforts to get the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief added to a UN list of proscribed terrorists, saying there isn’t enough evidence against him.

Monday’s meeting was chaired by foreign minister Wang. His counterparts from Russia (Sergey Lavrov), South Africa (Maite Nkoana-Mashabane) and Brazil (Aloysio Nunes) attended the meet.

After the meeting and the press interaction, all five ministers called on President Xi Jinping.

Earlier in the day, Singh said besides cooperating on financial issues, the BRICS agenda had witnessed steady expansion.

“The BRICS joint working group on counter-terrorism concluded its meeting in May 2017. Our national security advisors are scheduled to meet next month. In the (New) Delhi meeting last year, they had reached significant understating to enhance cooperation in security and counter-terrorism matters,” Singh said.

At a bilateral meeting Singh on Sunday, Wang said India and China are major countries with great influence and they should boost cooperation in BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and all other multilateral frameworks to contribute to peace and stability in the region and the world.

First Published: Jun 19, 2017 21:44 IST