The strategy — to which China is also a party — calls for ‘rejection of double standards on countering terrorism and extremism conducive to terrorism.’
China, which acts tough on terrorism on its soil, has often shielded Pakistan during efforts by international bodies to brand Islamabad’s use of terror as an instrument of state policy.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Regional Anti-Terror Structure has also not impacted its Pakistan policy, which is often guided by the Dragon’s geo-political interests in South Asia.
It was decided at the Summit to utilize the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group to strengthen intelligence and information sharing and cooperation on terrorist organizations listed by the UN Security Council.
A number of Pak-based leaders of terror outfits have been listed by the UNSC.
India, backed by the current BRICS chair, had played a key role in shaping its counter-terror strategy. Last year, Brazil played a key role in shaping the BRICS’ counter-terror agenda. It is expected that India will take forward the strategy and formulate an action plan when it holds the BRICS chair in 2021.
The BRICS strategy also calls for inadmissibility of using terrorist groups, or issues pertaining to countering international terrorism and extremism conducive to terrorism, for political ends. The BRICS states have also decided to enhance cooperation in the sphere of mutual legal assistance and extradition, in line with their domestic laws and regulations, to afford the widest measure of assistance to investigate or undertake criminal proceedings against terrorists.
The strategy also calls for broadening the BRICS counter-terrorism cooperation with the United Nations, as well as the G-20 and the Financial Action task Force.
China in the past has often shielded Pakistan at the FATF, using its vote to prevent Islamabad from being blacklisted. It is hoped that the alignment of BRICS’ counter-terror strategy with that of other global organisations will turn the spotlight on China. Pakistan has also been shielded by Beijing at the UNSC.
Ahead of the BRICS Summit, China did not support a proposal by Turkey at the FATF meet to protect Pakistan. Turkey proposed that members should consider Pakistan’s efforts in controlling terror finances. Turkey had suggested that FATF should dispatch an on-site team to Pakistan to finalise its assessment instead of waiting for the completion of the remaining six out of 27 parameters set by the task force. On Monday, China put the onus on Pakistan to safeguard CPEC projects from attacks when Islamabad tried to blame India for “subversive acts”.
The BRICS counter-terror strategy also called for promoting capacity building, including training, experience sharing, and technical cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts.
The BRICS High Representatives for Security or NSAs shall be entrusted with leading the review of the implementation of this strategy, and the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group shall be entrusted with its implementation.
The working group may discuss ways to consider elaborating on a Plan of Action containing specific measures to implement this strategy fully and effectively in due course, according to the strategy document.