Five major emerging economies including China and India agreed Monday to strengthen cooperation against terrorism and a range of organizations in a declaration that includes some Pakistan-based ones, in a diplomatic victory for New Delhi.
A declaration adopted at a summit of the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — named organizations including the Pakistan-based militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Other groups mentioned in the Xiamen Declaration, named after the southeastern Chinese city where the organization is holding its summit, include the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.
China, a key ally of Pakistan, has repeatedly blocked India’s attempts to have the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Masood Azhar, put on a U.N. Security Council terror blacklist.
India has accused archrival Pakistan of harboring and training militants to launch attacks on its soil.
China is a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council and has been seen as using that clout to gain an edge in its political and economic rivalry with India. The nuclear-armed Asian giants recently ended a 10-week border standoff high in the Himalayas that re-awakened memories of their 1962 frontier war, paving the way for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the BRICS summit in Xiamen alongside his host, Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Xiamen Declaration also expressed concern about the Haqqani network that is active in Afghanistan, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, accused by Beijing of fomenting unrest in China’s northeastern region of Xinjiang.
Preeti Saran, an official at India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said it was the first time that there had been a specific listing of terrorist groups in a BRICS document, and that it was “a very important development.”
Saran denied any connection between China’s agreement to list the Pakistan-based organizations and the withdrawal of Indian troops from the contested Himalayan area.
“This is a multilateral forum with five sovereign countries. There is no linkage to any other development,” Saran said.
The declaration said nations should unite to fight the terrorist groups in accordance with the principles of international law, but emphasized the importance of not interfering in the sovereign affairs of individual states.
Saran confirmed the text of the declaration posted online on the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ website.