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BRICS declaration condemns terrorism, names Pak outfits LeT and Jaish

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(From left to right:) Brazil’s President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepare to pose for a group photo during the BRICS Summit at Xiamen

The Xiamen declaration by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa calls for “expeditious finalisation and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the United Nations General Assembly.”

In a significant boost for India’s fight against terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil, a declaration issued by heads of state of Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa at the ongoing BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China for the first time named terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad while condemning terrorism and finding ways to eliminate it.

The Xiamen declaration, adopted by the five BRICS nations, called for “call for expeditious finalisation and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)” and a need for the “international community to establish a genuinely broad international counter-terrorism coalition”.

The declaration can be viewed as a major victory for India’s diplomatic corps which has been working at various international platforms, like the UN, G-20 and BRICS, to build an global front against the sponsoring of terrorist activity by the Pakistani establishment despite concerted attempts by the People’s Republic of China in blocking such moves.

The declaration issued, on Monday, not only re-establishes the support that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government enjoys from regimes across the globe in its quest for fighting ‘Islamic’ terror but also the fact that China was being isolated in the international arena over its attempts to shield Pakistan from any kind of censure over terrorism.

Masood Azhar

Masood Azhar

The declaration – which all five BRICS nations, including China are signatories to – also weakens Beijing’s case on its efforts to stall the United Nation’s Security Council proposal on declaring Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a ‘global terrorist’. In early August, China had extended, by three months, its technical hold on the US, France and UK-backed proposal of having Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist by the UNSC even though his outfit, JeM, had already been declared as a terrorist organisation by the body.

Although the Xiamen declaration does not expressly mention the threat of terrorism to India, it talks at length about terrorist strikes in neighbouring Afghanistan, which has been a victim of attacks perpetrated by some of the same Pakistan-based terror outfits which have repeatedly carried out strikes on Indian soil.

“We strongly condemn terrorist attacks resulting in death to innocent Afghan nationals. There is a need for immediate cessation of violence… We support the efforts of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in fighting terrorist organizations…We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir,” the BRICS declaration states.

The declaration adds: “We deplore all terrorist attacks worldwide, including attacks in BRICS countries, and condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever and stress that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism. We reaffirm that those responsible for committing, organizing, or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable.”

At a time when various Indian investigative agencies are carrying out joint probes against individuals and organisations in the strife-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir for purportedly receiving money from their Pakistani handlers for ‘terror funding’, the BRICS nations have also called for “blocking sources of financing terrorism”.

“We call upon all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, which should include countering radicalization, recruitment, movement of terrorists including Foreign Terrorist Fighters, blocking sources of financing terrorism including, through organized crime by means of money-laundering, supply of weapons, drug trafficking and other criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases, and countering misuse of the Internet including social media by terrorist entities,” the declaration said.

At a restricted session held during the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a joint counter-terror strategy and suggested a new mechanism to counter-radicalisation in the region. India has also offered to hold an international conference in this regard.

In what can also be viewed as an endorsement of India’s stand on its inclusion in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and making this club more accessible for other robust economies around the world, the BRICS nations also backed “open, flexible and transparent markets for energy commodities and technologies”.

The declaration said: “We underline the importance of predictability in accessing technology and finance for expansion of civil nuclear energy capacity which would contribute to sustainable development in BRICS countries.”

However, it remains to be seen whether the declaration that endorses India’s demand for accessing technology and finance for expanding its civil nuclear energy will eventually mark a real shift in Beijing’s stand India’s bid to enter the NSG – an effort that the Dragon has blocked consistently in the past.

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Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto’s parties strike deal on Pakistan coalition Govt, Shehbaz Sharif to be PM

The PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari, 68, is set to assume the role of the President of Pakistan again.

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Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have agreed on a power-sharing deal to form a new coalition government after days of intense negotiations, as per the senior party leaders.

On Tuesday night, in a joint conference, the PPP Chairman Bhutto announced that PML-N president, 72-year-old Shehbaz Sharif will be the Prime Minister of Pakistan once again and the PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari, 68, is set to assume the role of the President of Pakistan again.

Speaking to reports, Bhutto said the PPP and PML-N have achieved the required number, and now they were in a position to form the government.

He said the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party-backed candidates and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) could not achieve a simple majority in Parliament to form government in the Centre.

Bilawal hoped that the political alliance with PML-N to form a coalition government would result in a positive market response since the cash-strapped country faced a hung Parliament after the February 8 elections.

Independent candidates, who were supported by the 71-year-old Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, managed to secure 93 seats in the National Assembly.

Shehbaz Sharif, in his speech, expressed confidence that his PML-N party, along with the PPP, now has the necessary numbers to form the next government. He also thanked the leadership of both parties for successfully concluding the talks.

According to the reports, the former prime minister highlighted the unity between the two political parties and their strong position to form the government at the Centre.

The PML-N secured 75 seats in the election, while the PPP came in third with 54 seats. Additionally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has agreed to support the two parties with their 17 seats.

To form a government, a party must win 133 out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly or the lower house of Parliament.

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Poland Minister Wladyslaw T Bartoszewski says India is a superpower, should play role in World affairs

The Polish Minister said it is time to take the relations between the the two countries to a higher level. He said India has developed into a phenomenal country and is the 5th largest economy in the world. The minister said the Polish economy has also developed and both the countries have much more to offer each other.

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Secretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Poland Wladyslaw T. Bartoszewski on Monday said that India should play a bigger role in global politics. He said India is a superpower now and hence India should play a role that fits superpower at the global scale. He said the relations between Poland and India have been extremely good. He said they have not had any problems.

The Polish Minister said it is time to take the relations between the the two countries to a higher level. He said India has developed into a phenomenal country and is the 5th largest economy in the world. The minister said the Polish economy has also developed and both the countries have much more to offer each other.

He said the Polish government wants India to play a more active role in World Politics. He said India is the largest democracy in the world and shares values with Poland as to how the world should be organised. The Polish Minister said he is looking to partner with India. He said Poland is looking at potentially creating the India-Central Eastern European Forum to discuss amongst a few countries.

He said there are a lot of topics and Poland wants to partner with India to play its role in the world affairs. Bartoszewski highlighted the remarkable economic growth India has made under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said Warsaw would like to work in closer co-operation with New Delhi. India and Poland share strong bilateral ties.

After the Ukraine war began, Poland helped in India’s Operation Ganga by aiding in the evacuation of Indian students from the war struck country in 2022.The Polish minister commented on the Russia-Ukraine war which has been going on since the last two years. He said the war will end if immediately if Russian President Vladimir Putin withdraws his forces from neighbouring Ukraine.

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71st Miss World contestants visit Raj Ghat and pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi

The 71st Miss World will take place between February 18 and March 9 which will unfold across various venues, including the Bharat Manadapam in New Delhi. 120 contestants from countries around the world will participate in various competitions and charitable initiatives, serving as ambassadors of change.

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Miss World contestants, accompanied by Julia Morley, chairman and CEO of the Miss world Organisation, visited the Raj Ghat, also known as the Gandhi memorial, on Monday, where they paid their respects to Mahatma Gandhi. The 71st Miss World participants also visited the Gandhi Museum.

The 71st Miss World will take place between February 18 and March 9 which will unfold across various venues, including the Bharat Manadapam in New Delhi. 120 contestants from countries around the world will participate in various competitions and charitable initiatives, serving as ambassadors of change.

Julia Morley, chairman and CEO of the Miss World Organisation said in a statement that her love of India is no secret and having the 71st Miss World Festival in this country means a lot to her. She thanked Jamil Saidi for his herculean efforts to make the return of the event to India a reality. She said the Miss World Organization has assembled the best team for the 71st edition.

The 71st Miss World will end with a dazzling grand finale at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai. India last hosted the international pageant in 1996. Manushi Chhillar was the most recent Indian to win the pageant, having bagged the crown in 2017. Previously, Reita Faria Powell, Aishwarya Rai, Diana Hayden, Yukta Mookhey, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas have also won the competition.

India is currently hosting Miss World 2024 in Delhi and Mumbai after 28 years. The competition will begin on  Februray 18, with the grand finale scheduled  on March 9, the 71st Miss World Pageant will feature 120 contestants from 120 countries and territories, which includes India and will feature various competitions and charitable initiatives. The 21-day fashion and beauty event will feature a variety of events that will empower young women as change agents and future leaders.  

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