BRICS Delhi Declaration: Need to ensure stability, peace, law and order in Afghanistan

New Delhi: The BRICS Delhi declaration on Thursday expressed “concern” over the latest developments in Afghanistan, caution against the country’s territory might be used by terrorists as a sanctuary.

The Delhi Declaration was issued after the 13th BRICS summit hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for “settling the situation by peaceful means” and ” refraining from violence” when it comes to the ongoing crisis in the country. Summit saw the participation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazil President Bolsonaro, South Africa President Ramaphosa.

The joint statement stressed on the “need to contribute to fostering an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue” so as to ensure “stability, civil peace, law and order in the country.”

While condemning in the “strongest terms” the terrorist attacks near the Hamid Karzai Kabul International Airport, the declaration underscored the “priority of fighting terrorism, including preventing attempts by terrorist organizations to use Afghan territory as terrorist sanctuary “and to “carry out attacks against other countries, as well as drug trade within Afghanistan.”

India has been concerned about Pakistan-based international terror groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba using Afghan territory, something that New Delhi has conveyed during the NSA Ajit Doval and Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, General Nikolay Patrushev meeting earlier this week.

China has its own concerns about Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an Uyghur Islamic extremist organization using Afghan territory to destabilise restive Xinjiang further.

The declaration also saw emphasis on the “need to address the humanitarian situation and to uphold human rights, including those of women, children and minorities.” Since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, worry is that the group will not respect the rights of women and other ethnic minorities.

With the announcement of so-called “acting” government by the Taliban which has no representation from women and the presence of the Haqqani network, the fears have only confirmed the true intent of the extremist group which has deep linkages with Pakistan.

During the talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazil President Bolsonaro backed India’s line on Afghanistan, especially when it comes to the issue of terrorism.

Sanjay Bhattacharyya, India’s G20 Sherpa after the summit said, “There is a very strong sense of consensus which is supportive of our perspective on the developments in Afghanistan and in the region.”

Afghanistan’s geographic proximity with three BRICS countries – India, China and Russia – makes the issue an important part of regional discussion. Next week will see the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit which will be hosted by Tajikistan and Afghanistan yet again will dominate the proceedings. The three BRICS countries are also part of the 8-member SCO grouping.

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