Osaka (Japan): India was on Friday joined by China, Russia, South Africa and Brazil in asking all countries to prevent their territories from being used for terror activities, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the scourge was adversely affecting economic progress and social stability besides taking lives of innocent people.
The five-nation grouping -- Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) -- also underlined their commitment to fight the exploitation of internet for terrorist purposes. "We strongly condemn terrorist attacks, including against BRICS countries, in all forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomsoever committed," said a joint statement issued after the meeting attended by Prime Minister Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, pitched for "concerted efforts and a comprehensive approach" to counter terrorism under the UN auspices on a firm international legal basis. "We reiterate that it is the responsibility of all states to prevent financing of terrorist networks and of terrorist actions from their territories," the statement said. Though no nation was named in the statement, India has been highlighting how Pakistani soil and the territories under its control are being used to nurture and encourage terrorists to launch attacks in India.
"While recognising that states have the leading role to ensure safety and security in the use of ICTs, we call on the technology companies to cooperate with governments, in accordance with applicable law, to eliminate the ability of terrorists to use digital platforms to encourage, recruit, facilitate or commit terrorist acts," the statement added. Earlier, addressing the meeting, Modi said terrorism is the biggest threat to all of the humanity, as it not only takes the lives of innocent people, but also has huge adverse effect on economic progress and social stability. "We have to stop all the means of support and help available to terrorism and racism," he emphasised.
Modi noted that he recently called for a global conference on terrorism as "lack of necessary consent to fight against terrorism cannot keep us deedless." Among the two other main challenges facing the world, the Prime Minister spoke about recession and uncertainty in world economy. "One-sided decision and rivalry are dominating over rules-based multilateral international trade systems," he said. "On the other hand, the lack of resources is reflected in the fact that there is an estimated deficit of $1.3 trillion for investing in infrastructure development of emerging market economies," Modi added. Another major challenge, he said, is to make development and progress inclusive and sustainable.
"Rapidly changing technologies such as digitisation and climate change are not just challenges for us, but for the future generations also. Development is truly development in the right direction when it reduces inequality and contributes to the empowerment," he said. Making some recommendations, he said the synergy between BRICS countries can lead, to some extent, to the resolution of the side effects of unilateral decisions. "We have to keep on emphasising for reformed multilateralism in international financial and business institutions and organisations for the necessary reforms. For sustained economic growth, the required resources such as oil and gas are needed to be constantly available at low prices," Modi said.
He said physical and social infrastructure and renewable energy programmes of the member countries should be given more priority by the New Development Bank. "India's initiative for Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure will help in the development of appropriate infrastructure to face natural calamities by the least developed and developing countries. I exhort all of you to join this coalition," Modi said. He also pitched for easy movement of skilled workers around the world, saying it will also benefit the countries where a large part of the population has crossed the working age.
The BRICS nations also underlined their commitment to fighting corruption and continue to foster integrity in the public and private sectors. "We will, therefore, strive to promote international anti-corruption cooperation and strengthening of legal frameworks, as appropriate, to more effectively address cases of corruption especially with regard to assets recovery," the statement said. "We will seek to enhance our mutual efforts in the prosecution of persons sought for corruption. We recognise the role of whistle-blowers in preventing and combating corruption in both the public and private sectors and the need to improve measures to protect whistle-blowers," it added.
They acknowledged that corruption, including illicit money and financial flows, and ill-gotten wealth stashed in foreign jurisdictions, is a global challenge which may impact negatively on economic growth and sustainable development. "We will strive to coordinate our approach and encourage a stronger global commitment in this regard," the statement said. "We also recognise the need to strengthen cooperation, subject to domestic legal systems, in anti-corruption law enforcement, extradition of fugitives, economic and corruption offenders, and in recovering stolen assets," it said. The five countries also reaffirmed their commitment to support international cooperation in combating illicit financial flows, including cooperation within the Financial Actions Task Force (FATF), the World Customs Organisation and other relevant multilateral mechanisms.