The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) on Thursday committed to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states and stressed peaceful resolution of disputes as they discussed the crisis in Ukraine and situation in Afghanistan among other pressing issues.
A declaration issued at the end of a China-hosted virtual summit of the five-nation bloc said the leaders supported talks between Russia and Ukraine and discussed their concerns over the humanitarian situation in and around the eastern European country.
The reference to resolution of differences and disputes assumes significance as it came amid India’s lingering border row with China in eastern Ladakh and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the ill effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy is still visible and the mutual cooperation among the BRICS nations can make a useful contribution for its recovery.
“Over the years, we have made a number of institutional reforms in BRICS, which have increased the effectiveness of this organisation,” he said in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
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.
“We commit to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, stress our commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises,” the BRICS declaration said.
It said the leaders discussed the situation in Ukraine and “recall our national positions as expressed at the appropriate fora, namely the UNSC and UNGA. We support talks between Russia and Ukraine.” “We have also discussed our concerns over the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine and expressed our support to efforts of the UN Secretary-General, UN agencies and ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to provide humanitarian assistance in accordance with the basic principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality established in UN General Assembly resolution 46/182,” it said.
The BRICS leaders also expressed strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms including the cross-border movement of terrorists.
On Afghanistan, the BRICS said it strongly supports a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan while emphasising the need for respecting its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, national unity and non-interference in its internal affairs.
“We emphasize the need for all sides to encourage the Afghanistan authorities to achieve national reconciliation through dialogue and negotiation, and to establish a broad-based and inclusive and representative political structure,” the declaration said.
“We reaffirm the significance of relevant UNSC resolutions. We emphasize that the Afghan territory not to be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan to finance terrorist acts, and reiterate the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan,” it said.
The BRICS also called on the Afghan authorities to work towards combating drug-related crimes to free Afghanistan from the scourge of drugs.
“We stress the need to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people and to safeguard the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and different ethnic groups,” it said.
The declaration said the leaders expressed strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms “whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed”.
“We recognise the threat emanating from terrorism, extremism conducive to terrorism and radicalisation. We are committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the cross-border movement of terrorists, and terrorism financing networks and safe havens,” it said.
The BRICS declaration said terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group.
“We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to contribute further to the global efforts of preventing and countering the threat of terrorism on the basis of respect for international law, in particular the Charter of the UN and human rights,” it said.
The BRICS said the states have the primary responsibility in combating terrorism with the United Nations continuing to play central and coordinating role.”We reject double standards in countering terrorism and extremism conducive to terrorism,” it said.