Top security officials of the BRICS on Tuesday adopted an action plan to boost practical cooperation in combating terrorism and terror financing, in the backdrop of mounting concerns over the possibility of various terror groups stepping up activities from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. The action plan was adopted at an India-hosted virtual meeting that also saw New Delhi raising the issue of cross-border terrorism and activities of groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed which enjoy "state support" and threaten peace and security. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the high representatives adopted and recommended the BRICS counter-terrorism action plan for consideration by the BRICS Summit. The action plan is one of the key deliverables during India's chairship of BRICS.
The meeting, chaired by NSA Ajit Doval, also deliberated on the current situation in Afghanistan, delved into developments in Iran, West Asia and the Gulf region besides reviewing the regional and global political and security scenario. "As a follow up to the adoption of the BRICS counter-terrorism strategy at the 12th BRICS Leaders' Summit in 2020, done at the suggestion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the High Representatives adopted and recommended the BRICS counter-terrorism action plan for consideration by the BRICS Summit," the MEA said. The BRICS summit is scheduled to be hosted next month by India in the virtual format in its capacity as the chair of the grouping for the current year.
"The Action Plan aims to further strengthen existing mechanisms of cooperation in areas such as financing and combating terrorism, misuse of the internet by terrorists, curbing the travel of terrorists, border controls, protection of soft targets, information sharing, capacity building, and regional and international cooperation," the MEA said. The meeting was attended by Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Gen Patrushev, Chinese Politburo Member Yang Jeichi, South African Deputy Minister of State Security Ncediso Goodenough Kodwa and Gen Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira, Minister of State and Head of the Institutional Security Cabinet of the Presidency of Brazil.
The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) brings together five of the largest developing countries of the world, representing 41 per cent of the global population, 24 per cent of the global GDP and 16 per cent of the global trade. India has been strongly pitching for deeper cooperation among the BRICS member countries in dealing with terrorism, extremism and radicalisation.
The MEA said the meeting also delved into the emerging threats to national security, such as cyber-security. "Other items on the agenda were cooperation among law enforcement agencies, health safety and healthcare and counter-terrorism," the MEA said. "India raised the issue of cross-border terrorism and activities of groups such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed which enjoy State support and threaten peace and security," it said.
The MEA said the meeting also paid considerable attention to the "heightened risk" of the growth of illegal drug production and trafficking in the region. "It was agreed that concerned agencies in BRICS countries will enhance their cooperation in this area. Health Safety and healthcare were also identified as a priority area of cooperation within BRICS in the light of new challenges emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic," it said. "In the area of Cyber Security, it was agreed to strengthen joint efforts to enhance cooperation by sharing of information and exchange of best practices, combat cyber-crimes and capacity building," the MEA added.