The Summit declaration names Pak based Lashkar, Jaish as terror concerns
Narendra Modi visit to China for BRICS Summit has been a astounding success from an Indian prospective. It is surely a victory for Indian diplomacy that have scripted outstanding victory to include terror in the joint declaration of BRICS SUMMIT 2017. An end to DokaLa standoff saved Xi Jinping from an embarrassing face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The resolution will have offered relief to the BRICS organizers too, as there was hardly any logic in talking peace and cooperation among the grouping when two of its key constituents are engaged in a military face-off. Both Xi and Modi have set the stage for talks on peace and cooperation by agreeing to move past DokaLa and work on the larger BRICS agenda on cooperation. But all is still far from well.
For India and China, the next point of contention is developing, perhaps not in the form of a military conflict, but something that has all the making of a grand start to a prolonged diplomatic standoff India’s approach to the China Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC) and One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. China has bet big on CPEC, which it wants to use as a tool to assert significant political and economic influence on Pakistani soil and achieve its long-term goal of regional dominance operating from that base. CPEC is also integral to the OBOR initiative anchored by China.
It wants to grow as a world leader with its economic power and military might. For both CPEC and OBOR, India’s co-operation will be crucial for China since no power in Asia can ignore Asia’s third largest economy.
But, China may have a tough time in taking India into confidence since the CPEC corridor passes through the contentious part of Kashmir, which is occupied by Pakistan and claimed by India. India has the backing of others. For instance, Sri Lanka has spoken in favor of India on this issue saying it is difficult for India to accept the CPEC since it passes through the ‘heart of Indian interests’. China would have further risked the fate of CPEC and OBOR if it escalated tensions, as India can create hurdles in the path of OBOR. It was one of the major economic reasons it had to put an end to the DokaLa conflict as pointed out earlier.
In a recent report, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (ESCAP), the UN’s regional development arm, had warned that the CPEC running through Pakistan occupied Kashmir could create tensions with India and lead to ‘further political instability’ in the region. India has so far distanced itself from the OBOR initiative on account of this reason. It did not send a delegation to attend the OBOR meet convened by China early this year. This point of contention is likely to escalate further.
Just recently, army chief General Bipin Rawat had said that the CPEC passing through PoK challenges India’s sovereignty. “It is doing so by increasing defense and economic partnerships in the neighborhood, especially in Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) challenges India’s sovereignty,” Rawat had said. China, on the other hand, has maintained that CPEC has no direct links to Kashmir, a claim India has not agreed to. There are good reasons for China to bat for CPEC. China has invested at least $50 billion so far in the CPEC, and has also promised further investments.
Besides, it also plans to deeply influence the Pakistan region with its power and culture, establishing “a full system of monitoring and surveillance … built in cities from Peshawar to Karachi, with 24 hour video recordings on roads and busy marketplaces for law and order. A national fibre optic backbone will be built for the country not only for internet traffic, but also terrestrial distribution of broadcast TV, which will cooperate with Chinese media in the ‘dissemination of Chinese culture’.” All this will eventually make Pakistan nothing short of a Chinese colony and a surveillance base, which is a threat to India.
The 2017 BRICS Summit may not have much to offer beyond the usual rhetoric and general statements on promise of member cooperation. Particularly for India and China, although the DokaLa problem is off for now, the damage inflicted by the standoff on bilateral trade and economic relations will linger on for a while. Even if Modi and Xi move past the DokaLa episode and shake hands in front of cameras, the CPEC issue will loom over the meet.
The Brics grouping on Monday bracketed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e- Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed with global terror groups Islamic State and al-Qaeda, marking a significant diplomatic win in India’s efforts to counter cross border terrorism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Michael Temer and South African President Jacob Zuma condemned terror attacks worldwide and said those “committing, organizing or supporting” such acts must be held accountable.
This is the first time anti-India groups such as LeT and JeM have been named in a Brics declaration though the five-country grouping has denounced terror in the past. In the run-up to the summit in Xiamen, China’s foreign ministry had even suggested the counter terror efforts of its “iron brother”
ally Pakistan would not be an appropriate topic for discussion.
The 43-page Xiamen declaration, with 17 references to terrorism, made it clear that India had been able to convince others in the grouping about the threat posed by Pakistan-based organisations as the document also contained references to groups such as the Haqqani Network, Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement and Pakistani Taliban that have targeted Afghanistan and China.
“We deplore all terrorist attacks worldwide, including attacks in Brics countries, and condemn terrorism in all its forms…,” said the declaration released after the plenary session of the 9th Brics summit. “We…express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani Network, Laskar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb-ut-Tahrir,” it said.
The document did not specify which region it was referring to but added: “We reaffirm that those responsible for committing, organizing or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable.” Monday’s statement was a marked departure from earlier Brics statements the declaration issued after last year’s summit in Goa referred to terrorism several times but only named one group, the Islamic State.
Report filed by Prakhar Misra, inputs from mainstream media.