BRICS Summit calls for peaceful settlement of Afghanistan situation
New Delhi, September 10, 2021
The 13th BRICS Summit, held on Thursday in the virtual format with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the chair, called for refrainment from violence in Afghanistan and a peaceful settlement of the situation in the war-torn country, where the Taliban has taken power after more than two decades.
"We follow with concern the latest developments in Afghanistan. We call for refraining from violence and settling the situation by peaceful means," the New Delhi Declaration issued after the Summit said.
"We stress the need to contribute to fostering an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue so as to ensure stability, civil peace, law and order in the country. We condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks near the Hamid Karzai Kabul International Airport that resulted in a large number of deaths and injuries.
"We underscore the priority of fighting terrorism, including preventing attempts by terrorist organisations touse Afghan territory as terrorist sanctuary and to carry out attacks against other countries, as well as drug trade within Afghanistan. We emphasise the need to address the humanitarian situation and to uphold human rights, including those of women, children and minorities," the declaration said.
During the discussions, the BRICS leaders also agreed to accelerate implementation of their Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism.
"The leaders also discussed important regional and global issues, including recent developments in Afghanistan. There was convergence of views on the threat posed by growth of terrorism and extremism, and all BRICS partners agreed to accelerate implementation of the BRICS Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism," a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Apart from Modi, the summit was attended by President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Xi Jinping of China, and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
The theme of the Summit, chosen by India, was, BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus.
The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for the cooperation received from BRICS partners during India's Chairship this year, which allowed the achievement of several new initiatives. These included the first BRICS Digital Health Summit; the first BRICS Ministerial Joint Statement on multilateral reforms; a BRICS Counter-Terrorism Action Plan; an Agreement on cooperation in field of remote-sensing satellites; a virtual BRICS vaccine Research & Development Centre; BRICS Alliance on Green Tourism, and so on.
Highlighting the leading role that BRICS countries can play in the post-COVID global recovery, Modi called for enhanced BRICS cooperation under the motto of "Build-back Resiliently, Innovatively, Credibly and Sustainably".
"Elaborating on these themes, he stressed the need for accelerating 'build-back' by enhancing speed and accessibility of vaccination, creating 'resilience' by diversifying pharma and vaccine production capacities beyond the developed world, fostering 'innovation' by creatively using digital tools for public good, ensuring reform of multilateral institutions to enhance their 'credibility', and promoting 'sustainable' development by articulating a common BRICS voice on environmental and climate issues," he said.
"India has received full cooperation from all BRICS partners and from everybody during this Chairmanship and I am deeply grateful to all of you for this. The BRICS platform has witnessed several achievements in the last one and a half decades. Today we are an influential voice for the emerging economies of the world. This platform has also been useful for focusing attention on the priorities of developing nations as well," Modi said in his opening remarks at the Summit.
"BRICS has created strong institutions like the New Development Bank, the Contingency Reserve Arrangement and the Energy Research Cooperation Platform. These are all very strong institutions. There is no doubt that there is much we can be proud of. However, it is also important that we do not become too self-satisfied and we must ensure that BRICS is even more result oriented in the next 15 years.
"The theme that India has selected for its tenure of Chairmanship demonstrates exactly this priority - ‘BRICS@15: Intra BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus’. These four Cs are in a way the fundamental principles of our BRICS partnership," he said.
Modi said that this year, despite the challenges posed by COVID, more than 150 BRICS meetings and programmes were organised, out of which more than 20 were at the Ministerial level.
"Along with enhancing cooperation in traditional areas, we have also made efforts to further expand the BRICS agenda. In this context, BRICS has achieved several 'Firsts' meaning there were several things that were done for the first time. Just recently the first ever BRICS digital summit was held. This is an innovative step to increase health access with the help of technology. In November, our Water Resources Ministers will be meeting for the first time under the BRICS format. It is also the first time that BRICS has taken a collective position on 'Strengthening and Reforming Multilateral Systems'.
"We have also adopted the BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan. With the agreement on Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation between our space agencies a new chapter of cooperation has begun. With cooperation between our Customs departments, intra- BRICS trade will become easier.There has also been a consensus with regards to starting a virtual BRICS Vaccination Research and Development Centre.BRICS Alliance on green tourism is also another new initiative," he said.
"All of these new initiatives will not only benefit our citizens but will also enable BRICS as an institution to remain relevant in the coming years," he added.