Five-nation influential grouping BRICS, which includes India and China, on Friday said conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means and diplomatic engagement through political dialogue and negotiations irrespective of their historic background.
The BRICS stressed on resolution of conflicts in a declaration issued after a virtual meeting of foreign ministers of the member nations of the grouping. The meeting was attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
Though the declaration mentioned conflicts in various parts of the world, the reference comes at a time when China is engaged in an aggressive military posturing in the South China Sea and a bitter border row with India in the mountainous eastern Ladakh region.
“They concurred that, irrespective of their historic background and distinctive nature, conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means and diplomatic engagement through political dialogue and negotiations in line with principles and norms of international law, particularly the UN Charter,” it said.
Besides India and China, the BRICS comprises Brazil, Russia and South Africa.
In his address, Jaishankar called for boosting cooperation among the grouping in dealing with the threat of terrorism besides emphasising the need to reform the United Nations to reflect contemporary global realities.
Jaishankar also called for expansion of the UN Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories besides pitching for reforms in international bodies like World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fund and World Health Organisation.
The foreign minister also indicated that India’s effort would be to consolidate intra BRICS solidarity and provide concrete institutional framework for the purpose.
The meeting was chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and attended by Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Ara jo, China’s Wang, South African Foreign Minister Grace Naledi Pandor and Jaishankar.
The joint declaration said the ministers expressed concerns at the rise of violence and continuing conflicts in different parts of the world that have significant impact at both the regional and international levels.
It said the ministers reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed, adding that it should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.
“They reaffirmed their 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 and the UN Charter, emphasising that States have the primary responsibility in combating terrorism,” the declaration said.
The BRICS foreign ministers also called for establishing long-term peace in Afghanistan on the basis of successful, direct and inclusive intra-Afghan negotiations supported by international partners.
“The peace process should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. They condemned in the strongest terms the recent terrorist attacks that took place in Afghanistan,” it said.
It said the ministers noted with appreciation the role of the New Development Bank (NDB) in infrastructure and sustainable development financing and its contribution to the efforts of BRICS states to address the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They welcomed the decision of the NDB Board of Governors to establish an emergency assistance facility up to USD 10 billion to meet related needs and the approval of four loans in the total amount of USD 4 billion,” the declaration said.
It said the ministers reiterated the pressing need to preserve jobs and income, in particular for the most vulnerable groups of society.
“They underscored the urgency of restoring international growth and international trade, strengthening markets stability and resilience. The Ministers stressed the value of cooperation between States, both bilaterally and multilaterally,” it said.
In his address, Jaishankar said the BRICS has an important role to play in the wake of grave challenges in economic, political and social, health fields.
He also highlighted the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) initiative of India as a “dynamic” and mutually beneficial global economic engagement, covering five key pillars, including economy, infrastructure, technology, demography and demand.