New Delhi: In a seeming rebuff to New Delhi, a joint statement issued after talks between Russia, India and China made no mention of terrorist groups like Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) or Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) though the three countries agreed to step up counterterrorism cooperation and choke the channels used to fund terrorism.
Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj mentioned the two groups that have been blamed for many terrorist attacks in India—including the December 2001 strike on the Indian Parliament, the 2008 Mumbai attack in which 166 people were killed, besides the targeting of military installations last year—by name.
“While discussing terrorism, I put across my view that significant rise in acts of terrorism by terrorist organisations like Taliban, Daesh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, and LeT directly undermine international peace and security and endanger ongoing efforts to strengthen the global economy and ensure sustainable growth and development," Swaraj said.
In contrast, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi—on his first visit to India since the Dokalam military standoff between India and China that ended on 28 August—and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov spoke of “eliminating the breeding grounds of terrorism" and extremism without specifically mentioning any group.
With the joint statement issued after the September Brazil, Russia, India, China-South Africa (BRICS) summit in Xiamen naming the two groups, it was expected that the Russia, India, China (RIC) document too would mention LeT and JeM.
The joint statement issued after the 15th meeting of the RIC foreign ministers however condemned “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including the recent heinous terrorist attacks around the world and reaffirm our determination to prevent and counter terrorism in all its forms and manifestations."
“We reaffirm that all acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable irrespective of their motivations, committed wherever and by whomsoever," it said, adding: “We underline the primary and leading role and responsibility of states in preventing and countering terrorism and extremism and reiterate that all states should take adequate measures to prevent terrorist activities from their territory."
“We agree to strengthen cooperation to take decisive and concerted actions against globally proscribed terrorists and terror entities. We condemn all forms of terrorism and all terrorists, terror entities and organizations listed by the UN Security Council," the statement said—seen as significant given that China has opposed Indian efforts to get JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist by the UN Security Council.
Two people familiar with the RIC deliberations said India was “happy" with the joint statement despite there being no mention of LeT or the JeM. “We don’t see this as missing. There are three or four paragraphs related to terrorism and the language used is strong," said one of the two people.