Russia has hailed the Xiamen Brics declaration and its naming of Pakistan-based terror groups as a victory for countries concerned about terrorism in the region.
Despite it being seen as defending Pakistan from pressure exerted on the latter by the US on the issue, Moscow’s position on Islamabad has been quite nuanced as official sources here confirmed Russia worked actively with Beijing to convince it to drop its opposition to name-checking Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohamed (JeM).
The naming of these terror groups was seen by Indian officials as a major diplomatic breakthrough in Xiaman as Beijing had stalled all such attempts by both Russia and India during last Brics summit in Goa.
“We see the declaration and the naming of terror groups as an important breakthrough for countries who share concerns on terrorism in the region and we expect it to lead to more concrete action against such terrorist organisations,” said a top Russian diplomat here, Sergey Karmalito, to TOI.?
After the naming of Jaish in the Brics declaration, which is an accused in both Pathankot and Uri terror attacks of 2016, ?the next logical step for India is to also get its chief Maulana Masod Azhar proscribed by the UN. China has continued to block all attempts to include Azhar in the UNSC sanctions list despite the fact that the organisation he continues to helm is blacklisted by the same Security Council.
Indian officials are now hoping that Moscow will be of help to India in convincing Beijing to give up its opposition to the ban on Azhar too. According to diplomatic sources, Moscow is of the view that on the limited issue of Azhar, China may in the near future come round to India’s view that a ban on Azhar will indeed be a positive step in the fight against terrorism.
“Beijing knows it has limited bargaining power with Azhar. NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) and CPEC of course are different issues,” said a source who did not wish to be quoted.
India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier this year publicly appealed to Russia to convince China to support India’s NSG membership bid but Moscow is not hopeful of a breakthrough anytime soon. However, while there are concerns here about Moscow’s attempts to engage Taliban in the Afghanistan peace process, Russia is also trying to involve India more in that process.
This is evident from the fact, as sources said, from a proposal by Moscow that President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov visit India soon. The visit could take place as early as October this year.
Kabulov is not the most popular Russian figure in India with some of his comments on peace and stability in the region seen here as a sign of Russia’s growing strategic embrace of Islamabad. After President Trump attacked Pakistan while announcing his new Afghanistan policy, Kabulov responded by saying that putting pressure on Pakistan would only further destabilise the region.
While Kabulov recently denied allegations by the US that Russia was supplying military aid to the Taliban, he also said that there was a stalemate in Kabul’s conflict with Taliban and that in this situation it was necessary “to make the most active efforts to search for ways to launch the intra-Afghan dialogue.” With the Taliban now controlling almost 45 per cent of Afghan territory, Moscow believes it is impossible to keep them out of any dialogue for sustainable peace in the country.
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