The Xiamen Declaration issued by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on Monday has an unambiguous message on terror. It condemns “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever” and stresses “that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism”. For the first time, a BRICS declaration also mentions Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)—two India-focused, Pakistan-based terrorist groups. The Indian delegation and the foreign ministry should be congratulated on this success, even if small.
On previous occasions, China had not allowed these two terror groups to be mentioned in BRICS statements owing to its special relationship with Pakistan. It had previously agreed to these two groups being mentioned in a Heart of Asia conference statement but had consistently stalled India’s moves to have Masood Azhar of the JeM designated an international terrorist by the UN Security Council. But is the 2017 BRICS declaration indicative of a change in China’s approach to terrorism? Unlikely.