9th BRICS Summit: India’s Diplomatic Success 

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) takes a group photo with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd L), Brazil’s President Michel Temer (L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (2nd R) and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma at the West Lake State Guest House ahead of G20 Summit in Hangzhou

In a significant move, Beijing has signed off on New Delhi’s initiative to name two Pakistan based terrorist groups, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, in the Xiamen declaration, expressing “concern” about the security situation in the region. This is the first time that a BRICS declaration has named these terrorist groups.

The Xiamen declaration also named the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, a Muslim separatist group founded by militant Uighurs, Haqqani network, Taliban,  Islmaic state  and members of the Turkic-speaking ethnic group in northwest China’s Xinjiang province.

Defense analysts reckon the BRICS Summit 2017 as a diplomatic victory for India after a joint declaration condemned terrorism and included Pakistan based terrorist organizations in it. The 43 page declaration, adopted at the end of the BRICS plenary is being considered as a diplomatic victory for India by forcing China to condemn these terrorist organizations. Nonetheless, the move is considered a diplomatic defeat for Islamabad, which heavily depends on Beijing’s support amid a global isolation.

According to P.K. Sehgal, a defense expert, China was forced to incline towards India’s stance on terrorism since they faced pressure.

By forcing China to sign off the declaration, India has succeeded in its motive. In the past, China opposed to declaring JeM Chief Moulana Azhar as a global terrorist at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Experts believe that it is difficult to predict China’s obduracy in the present circumstance.  Previously China shied away from listing Moulana Azhar  as a global terrorist. China didn’t seem to change its stance towards Pakistan, however, this time China was caught on the back foot.  

Noticeably China is careful and scrupulous of its image and wanted to conduct a picture – perfect summit, so it realized that the only way to insist Prime Minister Modi to attend the 9th BRICS Summit, 2017 was to end the standoff.  Analysts also believe that China will keep leveraging from  Pakistan and won’t isolate Islamabad completely. China has a huge investment in Pakistan like CPEC and BRI. It also wants to minimize India’s influence in the region by supporting Pakistan; a  strategy which experts believe won’t change significantly  in the future.

Subsequently, Pakistan rejected a declaration by the BRICS nations including China. Pakistan denied the  allegation that it harbors terrorists on its soil.

Nevertheless, Islamabad faces a diplomatic dilemma. The BRICS declaration is a victory for the Indian and Afghan stance that Pakistan-based terror outfits pose a serious threat to regional security.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif is planning to visit China and Russia in the coming days to garner support for his country in the wake of Trump’s criticism. The BRICS statement has made  his task more difficult.

According to Dr Aman Memon, an international relations experts at the Islamabad based Preston University, the declaration is a clear message to Pakistan that international community including China and Russia won’t tolerate Pakistan based Jihadi groups and since China has officially expressed its concern about JeM & LeT, the pressure on Pakistan to act against these groups is likely to build.  Dr. Memon also believes that the growing Indian influence in Afghanistan is a reason behind Islamabad’s support for these militant groups, however, after the BRICS declaration, Pakistan will come under tremendous pressure to evaluate its policy.

On account of the BRICS declaration, India appears successful and more confident.  It is reiterating its emphasis on Kashmir  being an integral part of India. India has also taken the opportunity to rebuke Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. Pakistan’s Permanent Representative, Maleeha Lodhi raised the Kashmir issue during a debate but Senior Indian diplomat, Srinivas Prasad  responded harshly,  stating that Islamabad has used terrorism as a tool of its state policy.  Thus, it demonstrates India’s confidence and delight after the BRICS declaration. China’s signature has pumped new life into India’s age old stance of “Kashmir being an integral part of India”; nonetheless it has pushed the Kashmir issue to the back burner.

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