Pakistan was isolated because of its pro-terror policies, India said on Monday and offered the neighbour help in acting against terrorists. China strongly defended Islamabad, its “all-weather” friend, for making “great sacrifices in fighting terrorism”.
The Chinese support to Pakistan came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, without naming Pakistan at the Goa BRICS Summit, said the “mothership” of terrorism was in India’s neighbourhood.
India’s tirade against Pakistan also remained in focus at the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) meeting held alongside the BRICS Summit.
BIMSTEC leaders on Monday called for greater cooperation between the two blocs, especially on figting terror.
In a joint statement, they slammed attempts made to glorify terrorists and described terrorism as “the single-most significant threat to peace and stability” in the region.
“We reiterate our strong commitment to combat terrorism, and stress that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds. We condemn in the strongest terms the recent barbaric terror attacks in the region,” the statement said.
“There should be no glorification of terrorists as martyrs,” the statement said, in a reference to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s remarks hailing slain Kashmiri militant commander Burhan Wani as a martyr who was killed in fighting for “freedom” of Kashmir.
The statement said the fight against terrorism “should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against States who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups and falsely extol their virtues”.
After the BIMSTEC statement, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Pakistan’s isolation was its own doing.
“If someone is isolated, it is because of the policies followed by that country. India did not have to do anything, because countries in one voice said there cannot be constructive dialogue in the terror-tainted atmosphere in the context of Saarc,” Swarup said.
He was replying to a question if India had succeeded in isolating Pakistan that led to the cancellation of the November summit of the regional South Asian grouping that was to be held in Islamabad.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Chandigarh that India had no ill will against Pakistan and called upon Islamabad to “close down the factory of terrorism”.
“Pakistan has adopted terrorism as its state policy and harbours terrorists. That is the reason it has been isolated not only in South Asia but also in the world,” Rajnath Singh said.
“India is ready to help Pakistan take action against terrorists, including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” he said.
Brazil also backed India’s actions against terrorism with Modi, who met President Michel Temer on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit here, thanking him for his country’s backing.
“We deeply appreciate Brazil’s support for India’s actions in combating terrorism.”
But China reacted sharply to India’s allegations against Pakistan.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said “China and Pakistan are all-weather friends” and Beijing opposed “linking terrorism with any specific ethnicity or religion”.
“Everyone knows that India and Pakistan are victims of terrorism. Pakistan has made huge efforts and great sacrifices in fighting terrorism. I think the international community should respect this,” she added.
Pakistan, in a fresh denial, returned India’s allegations, saying Prime Minister Modi had “no moral ground” to speak about terror “when his own government is involved in state terrorism in Kashmir”.
“The Indian leadership is desperately trying to hide its brutalities in Jammu and Kashmir … where innocent people are being killed and injured by security forces daily with impunity,” said Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs.