New Delhi: It could be called an episode that cornered China and at the same time also added a feather to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cap.
Much against their stance at the UNSC, both China and Russia were forced to adopt the Delhi Declaration at the end of the 13th BRICS Summit on Thursday, September 9, that pledged to fight terrorism and prevent attempts to use Afghan territory as "terrorist sanctuary" to carry out attacks and indulge in the drug trade.
"We underscore the priority of fighting terrorism, including preventing attempts by terrorist organisations to use Afghan territory as terrorist sanctuary and to carry out attacks against other countries, as well as drug trade within Afghanistan," the Declaration said.
At the UNSC meeting on August 30, both China and Russia had abstained.
Briefing reporters, senior MEA official Secretary Sanjay Bhattacharyya, maintained: "The first thing that came out of the meeting on Afghanistan was that there is a very strong sense of consensus, which is supportive of our (India's) perspective on the developments in Afghanistan and in the region."
He also said: "There was a very strong condemnation of terrorism and that terrorism, Afghan territory should not be used either for terrorism or for drug trafficking."
The BRICS virtual Summit was attended by Presidents of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro and South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, Vladimir Putin (Russia) and Xi Jinping (China), and Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the session.
Thanks to NSA-level detailed discussions between Ajit Doval and his Russian counterpart a day before the Summit, Russian President Putin took up the cudgel to speak about Afghanistan in his opening remarks. Putin blasted the United States for creating the mess.
"I have said on numerous occasions that this instability stems from irresponsible attempts to impose alien values from outside and build so-called democratic structures," Putin said at the virtual meet.
An MEA statement later said: "The BRICS 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."
"We follow with concern the latest developments in Afghanistan. We call for refraining from violence and settling the situation by peaceful means. 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," the Declaration further said.
In his opening remarks, PM Modi said that the BRICS has witnessed several achievements in the past one-and-a-half decades and added, "We need to ensure that BRICS is more productive in next 15 years."
Chinese President Xi Jinping took a line of his own and pressed for 'embracing changes of our times.'
"As a Chinese saying goes – A man of wisdom adapts to changes; a man of knowledge acts by circumstances," he said, adding, "In advancing BRICS cooperation, we need to embrace changes of our times and keep abreast of the times."
But he stuck to a line for consensus and unity in BRICS and said: "We need to set clearer priorities in our wide-ranging cooperation, make our cooperation more results-oriented."
"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," the Delhi Declaration said.
"We emphasise the need to address the humanitarian situation (in Afghanistan under Taliban) and to uphold human rights, including those of women, children and minorities," the Declaration said.
The BRICS Leaders recognised the role of India, many initiatives that were undertaken and many outcomes that were achieved.
Significantly, many of these initiatives introduced by Prime Minister Modi himself in earlier BRICS interactions have got fruitful results this year.
There were several firsts. For instance, PM Modi mentioned the first Digital Health Summit in the 2020 summit and the Joint Statement on Strengthening and Reforming the Multilateral System.