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India looks forward to mount diplomatic offensive against Pakistan at BRICS meet

News Agencies | Updated on: 11 February 2017, 5:46 IST

Seeking to further isolate Pakistan on terror, India will mount a major diplomatic offensive against it and push for stepped up cooperation, including support for a comprehensive global convention to tackle the menace, when it hosts the annual summit of BRICS, a 5-nation grouping (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) representing nearly half of the world's population.

The summit, being attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and leaders of Brazil and South Africa, is likely to deliberate on a range of key issues including confronting threat of terror and boosting trade and investment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the leaders will discuss ways to address "pressing international and regional challenges that stand in the way of our goals".

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"I am optimistic that the BRICS Summit will strengthen intra-BRICS cooperation and advance our common agenda for development, peace, stability and reform," the Prime Minister said in a Facebook post.

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The five BRICS countries represent over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world population and they have a combined GDP of $16.6 trillion.

India is likely to push for unity among the BRICS members to remove the logjam at the UN on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) for effectively dealing with terror. Initiated by India, the CCIT is stuck at the UN due to lack of agreement among its members about the definition of terrorism.

India is also expected to push for enhanced cooperation among BRICS nations in the area of counter-terrorism.

Preceding the BRICS summit, Modi is likely to raise the issue of terrorism with Putin and other leaders tomorrow when a series of bilateral meetings are slated at the seaside venue.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, India's envoy to Russia Pankaj Saran, replying to a question on Russia's recent military exercise with Pakistan, said India expected Moscow to reflect on its concerns.

As the top leaders of the grouping meet within weeks of Uri attack by Pakistan-based terrorists, India will be forceful in its demand at BRICS Summit as also the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) outreach meet being held the same day, for intensified efforts to tackle terrorism, including action against countries providing safe havens to terrorists and arming them.

"Representing nearly two thirds of humanity together, we hope to tap the potential for cooperation and the dividends this will bring," Modi said on the first-ever BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit.

India has made strong references both at UNGA as well as G-20 regarding Pakistan's continued support to cross-border terrorism.

The Prime Minister, without naming Pakistan, had told the G-20 that "one single nation in South Asia" is spreading "agents of terror" in the region and it must be isolated.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, in her address to the UN General Assembly, had said confessions of captured terrorists involved in strikes in India, including Uri, are a "living proof" of Pakistan's complicity in cross-border terror.

Apart from the heads of governments of BRICS who will attend the Summit on October 16, Prime Ministers of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar (State Counsellor) will be here to participate in the BRICS-BIMSTEC outreach meet.

New Delhi will also make all out efforts to revive Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) when these leaders attend the BRICS- BIMSTEC outreach meet.

This also assumes significance given the collapse of recent SAARC summit after four countries apart from India pulled out of the meet to be hosted by Pakistan over the issue of cross-border terrorism, maintaining that environment was not conducive to holding such an event.

Indian officials have made it clear that New Delhi's effort would be to have "strong language" used in the BRICS outcome document on terrorism, including on how to deal with countries that provide sanctuaries, safe havens and finances.

"Terrorism is a global problem. It cannot be tackled individually and has to be tackled collectively. We cannot have a differential policy towards terrorism. There is no good terrorist or bad terrorist. So, these are the issues on which there will be reiteration of national positions," secretary (economic relations) in external affairs ministry Amar Sinha had said.

During the meeting of national security advisors (NSA) of BRICS grouping, India had strongly pitched for action to be taken against not only the sources of finance but also sources from where terrorists get arms and ammunition.

Three MoUs, including those on cooperation in the area of environment and customs, have been agreed upon by the BRICS countries, Sinha had said, adding the pact pertaining to customs will help in breaking the trade barriers between these countries.

The other key issues to be taken up during these significant diplomatic outreach events include cooperation in areas of economy, tourism, connectivity, cultural, education and sports.

The main BRICS Summit on October 16 will begin with a photo opportunity followed by restricted talks between the leaders and later a meeting of business captains from the member-countries. In the second half, after the speech by the leaders, there will be BRICS and BIMSTEC retreat.

Security situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan is also expected to be discussed when the BRICS leaders take up important regional and international matters.

- - PTI

First published: 15 October 2016, 8:21 IST