Russia, India & China agree to eradicate ‘breeding grounds’ of terrorism

PTI

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese and Russian counterparts before a meeting in Wuzhen, China, Wednesday, Feb 27, 2019. Swaraj is in China to attend the 16th Foreign Ministers Meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC). (Twitter Photo)

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese and Russian counterparts before a meeting in Wuzhen, China, Wednesday, Feb 27, 2019. Swaraj is in China to attend the 16th Foreign Ministers Meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC). (Twitter Photo)

In a significant gain for India in its push to isolate Pakistan internationally on the issue of terrorism post-Pulwama attack, China and Russia on Wednesday agreed for closer policy coordination to eradicate the “breeding grounds of terrorism”.

Their commitment came at the conclusion of the Russia, India and China Foreign Ministers’ meeting here in the east Chinese city.

“We agreed to jointly combat all forms terrorism through closer policy coordination and practical cooperation. Especially important is to eradicate the breeding grounds of terrorism and extremism,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the end meeting while summing up the discussions on terrorism, especially in the backdrop of the February 14 Pulwama terrorist attack.

The mention of the “breeding grounds” of terrorism by Wang is significant as India justified its airstrikes on Pakistan saying that they were directed against the terror camps of the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

India on Tuesday bombed and destroyed JeM’s biggest training camp in Balakot, about 80-km from the Line of Control (LoC), killing a “very large number” of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders.

The Chinese foreign minister, however, tried to cautiously tread the fine line by highlighting that Pakistan, which is a close ally of Beijing, is also opposed to terrorism.

“China, Russia and India have reaffirmed our strong opposition to terrorism in various forms and manifestations. At the same time, we believe that Pakistan has always been opposed to terrorism,” he said at the joint press conference with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Elaborating on China’s stand Wang said, “on the recent developments between India and Pakistan, China appreciates the statements from Indian and Pakistani friends saying that they will exercise and avoid escalation of the situation.”

He said China for its part is playing a constructive role as a “mutual friend”.

“As a mutual friend to both India and Pakistan, we do hope that they can conduct a dialogue to establish facts through investigation to keep things under control, maintain peace and stability in the region. In this process, China is playing a constructive role and not the opposite,” he said.

Answering a question on whether there were differences between India and China on the Pulwama incident, Swaraj pointedly referred to Wang’s comments on eradication of breeding grounds of terrorism and the agreement on close policy coordination.

“As far as the joint strategy is concerned, you just heard foreign minister Wang Yi’s speech. What he said during his concluding statement, he reiterated here and he said that we would cooperate on eradicating the breeding grounds of terrorism”.

“This is not only a common strategy for the three of us, but it is a resolution for the three of us. Wang Yi said this during his concluding remarks and reiterated it here,” she said.

“Terrorism is a threat to humanity that is why not only for our three countries, we also need a global strategy. We need global cooperation,” she said and cited references to terrorism in the joint statement.

“On the one hand, we have gained consensus on the UN-led counterterrorism mechanism, while alongside we have also discussed the India proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) mechanism should also be soon finalised and adopted,” she said.

“Regarding Pulwama, I just told you both during my bilateral meeting with Wang Yi and also in the trilateral platform I strongly put forth
India’s perspective,” she said referring to her speech outlining India’s case against Pakistan and New Delhi’s defence for the airstrikes against JeM targets.

In her speech at the RIC Ministers meet, Swaraj referred to Pakistan’s reluctance to take any action after the Pulwama incident.

The joint statement issued at the end of the RIC Ministers’ meeting also spoke strongly against terrorism.

In the statement, the ministers called on the international community to strengthen UN-led global counter-terrorism cooperation by fully implementing the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

It said the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy should be in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law while respecting sovereignty and independence of all states, and expeditiously finalising and adopting the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the earliest.

“They reiterated that states and their competent agencies play a central role in both national and international counter-terrorism efforts. They also stressed that terrorist groups cannot be supported and used in political and geopolitical goals,” the statement said.

Those committing, orchestrating, inciting or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice in accordance with existing international commitments on countering terrorism, it said.

The ministers stressed that those committing, orchestrating, inciting or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice in accordance with existing international commitments on countering terrorism, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Financial Action Task Force standards.

(PTI)