Modi-Xi bonhomie at BRICS is ample proof Doklam standoff has been cast aside

While Indian PM stressed on economic cooperation and deradicalisation, the united condemnation of Pakistan-based terror groups provided greater heft to the bloc.

 |  5-minute read |   04-09-2017
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As the ninth BRICS summit is underway in Xiamen, China, the memories of the recent Doklam standoff between neighbours India and China seems to be already paling before the greater and more pressing needs. This was evident in the warm and firm handshake that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping shared on the BRICS dais, as the duo met in one of the biggest convergence platforms for developing economies the world over.

BRICS – the bloc that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – is a forum for not only forging economic cooperation, but also teasing out strategies and joint outlooks on issues as sensitive as national and international security, counter-terrorism, as well as cultural ties and tourism.

It is in this light that PM Modi’s appeal to the BRICS members and others invitees at the plenary session, focusing on trade and commerce, and a plea to “de-radicalise” the territories assume importance.

Xiamen declaration

While the bilateral talks between Modi and Xi, as well as between Modi and Russian President Valdimir Putin, will take place tomorrow on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, the joint declaration condemning Pakistan-based terror outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Haqqani network, is clearly the key takeaway from the first half of the first day of the BRICS meet. The resolution, also being called the Xiamen Declaration, has been widely welcomed in the BRICS countries.

The BRICS resolution said: "We deplore all terrorist attacks worldwide, including attacks in BRICS countries, and condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever and stress that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism. We reaffirm that those responsible for committing, organizing or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable.”

“We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir," the 48th point of the Xiamen Declaration said.

What Modi said

PM Modi, in his plenary speech at the BRICS 2017, warned of a world increasingly devoid of stability and “drifting towards uncertainty”.

“BRICS has developed a robust framework for cooperation, contribute stability and growth in a world drifting towards uncertainty,” Modi said.

Seeking a strong and robust partnership at the five-member bloc, PM Modi also called for the constitution of a BRICS ratings agency so that emerging economies can have their own economic and financial governance and a narrative unhindered by Anglo-American credit ratings and conditions.

“Our central banks must further strengthen their capabilities and promote co-operation between the contingent reserve arrangement and the International Monetary Fund,” PM Modi said.

Insisting on trade and economic cooperation, PM Modi stressed on financial sovereignty and ending financial/aid dependence of the developing nations, particularly the BRICS members, and said the future of BRICS lay in launching technical and financial cooperation plans.

PM Modi also focused on renewable energy for a greener planet and as part of the commitment to the Paris Climate Accord, to which all the BRICS countries have shown an adherence to. “Affordable, reliable, and sustainable access to energy is crucial for the development of our nations. Renewable energy is particularly important,” Modi said.

What Xi said

President Xi Jinping, on his part, contributed 500 million yuan to the New Development Bank, or the BRICS bank, that would help in ensuring financial sovereignty of developing economies, lending at lower borrowing rates and maintaining financial solvency of the Global South.

“I wish to announce that China will launch the economic and technical cooperation plan for BRICS countries with 500 million yuan for the first term to facilitate policy exchange and practical cooperation and in the economic and trade field,” said Xi. He added: "Despite our differences in national conditions, our five countries are in similar stages of development and share the same development cause."

Shadows of Doklam

Both Modi and Xi preferred to keep the shadows of Doklam standoff away from the urgency of the BRICS meet and the transnational, multilateral cooperation the five-member block demanded. In this light, the more thorny issues of CPEC, and China-Pakistan cooperation, would be taken up tomorrow during the bilateral meet between the two leaders.

It is of course worthwhile to remember that military confrontation between the two neighbours is a strictly unaffordable idea that both leaders deeply understand. What is important that the media in both countries follow up on the urgent need for cooperation and not confrontation. In this light, calls for boycott of Chinese products within India become counterproductive, even as the two meet at different platforms, including BRICS, G-20 and more.

Moreover, international pressure via China, as well as the USA, would be the only peaceful way to bring Pakistan under control, without resorting to strong military action against our nuclear and volatile neighbour. The Xiamen declaration therefore goes beyond the immediate geopolitical needs of the South Asian and Asia Pacific region, and makes a pronouncement that would have repercussions at a far wider scale in curbing the terrorist activities and their sponsorships by Pakistan’s state and other proxy powers.

Also read: How open confrontation between China and India can kill BRICS

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