Axis to step up counter-terror cooperation
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India, China and Russia on Monday resolved to step up cooperation to counter terrorism, including choking terror funding and dismantling terrorist infrastructure, as the Indian side flagged concerns over increasing acts of terrorism by Pakistan-based terror outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba.

During the 15th Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral, the foreign ministers —Sushma Swaraj, Wang Yi (China) and Sergey Lavrov (Russia) — also underlined the primary and responsibility of states in preventing and countering terrorism and extremism, a joint statement said. They also reiterated that all states should take adequate measures to prevent terrorist activities from their territory, it said.

“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.

However, the RIC joint statement did not name Pakistan unlike the joint document issued after the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) meet in Xiamen in China in September.

Condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including the recent heinous terrorist attacks around the world, the leaders reaffirmed their 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,” the statement said.

They called for greater unity, stronger international partnership and concerted actions by the international community in addressing the menace of terrorism in accordance with international law and the UN Charter, including the principles of sovereign equality of states and non- interference in their internal affairs. The leaders also emphasised the need for a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism.

The statement said in this context, they resolved “to step up cooperation to prevent and counter terrorism and radicalisation, combat the spread of terrorist ideology and propaganda, stop sources of terrorist financing, prevent travelling of and the supply of arms to terrorists, dismantle terrorist infrastructure.” They also resolved to enhance cooperation to disrupt recruitment and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and prevent misuse of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for terrorist purposes, it said.

Swaraj, Wang and Lavrov also stressed that those committing, organising, inciting or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice in accordance with the obligations under international law, including the principle of “extradite or prosecute as well as the applicable domestic legislations. “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 organisations listed by the UN Security Council,” the statement said. It assumes significance as China has been blocking the international banning of UN-designated terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, the mastermind of Pathankot terror strike.

The three countries also agreed to intensify cooperation in multilateral fora including FATF and FATF-style regional bodies (FSRBs) so as to cut the flows of funds, and other financial assets and economic resources to individuals and entities involved in terrorism including those proscribed under the relevant UN sanctions. They stressed on the need for joint, integrated and balanced approach to deal with drug menace, its illicit production and trafficking including new psychoactive substances in accordance with the UN Conventions and principles of international law.

The grouping also called for an early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN to establish the much needed comprehensive international legal framework to address the growing global menace of terrorism.

Expressing deep concern about the threat of WMDs falling into the hands of terrorist groups, including the use of chemicals and biological agents for terrorist purposes, they said they would cooperate to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by non-state actors, including terrorists.

“We need to address the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism through intensified meaningful work in international fora,” they said and expressed firm determination to explore the modalities of elaborating a mandate in this regard.