Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focused strategy to isolate terror-exporter Pakistan will further gain momentum, as India is all set to raise the issue of terrorism at the BRICS summit to be held in Goa beginning Saturday. The Prime Minister would highlight how terrorism is posing a threat not only to the region but also to the entire world. It is interesting to watch how Chinese President Xi Jinping will react to New Delhi’s aggressive outreach.
Incensed by India’s plans Liu Zongyi writes in Chinese official media outlet, Global Times, “One of the key items at this year’s summit will be anti-terrorism. All BRICS members do not want to solve bilateral disputes through politicized multilateral platforms. As for the decades-long Kashmir issue, BRICS countries can only play a mediating role rather than support one side while isolating the other. They cannot simply label a country as ‘supporter of terrorism’.”
Despite China’s reservations, India would definitely use the platform to further isolate Pakistan. "We will be looking at the global economic and political situation, and obviously terrorism is a very important part of that," Amar Sinha, the Indian foreign ministry official responsible for the BRICS file, told a pre-summit briefing.
Although China always stands by Pakistan vis-à-vis India, according to a Pakistani commentator, the Chinese have conveyed their displeasure to Islamabad over rising tensions between India and Pakistan. "Contrary to the public messaging in Islamabad, China is not the perpetual jolly partner when it comes to its relations with Pakistan," said Michael Kugelman, a senior program associate at the Wilson Center in Washington who focuses on South Asia.
"With China's investments and economic assets growing in Pakistan, it's only natural that it would worry. All militants, whether 'good' or 'bad' as characterised by Pakistan, threaten stability and by extension China's economic interests."
Beijing is also keen to push its proposal for establishing free trade with BRICS nations. India is not keen on this. Hu Weijia writes in Global Times: “Observers have focused their eyes on New Delhi and have one question in mind: How much courage will it take for the trade ministers from BRICS countries gathering there on Thursday for the summit meeting to promote greater cooperation?.”
China is upset with the lack of commitment from other countries despite China’s keenness to open up its domestic markets. “It seems China is willing to open up its domestic markets to the other four member countries, but they haven’t yet made quite the same commitment.” Other BRICS countries are wary of China’s policies. Among BRICS members, India suffers from a trade deficit of $ 52.7 billion with China. Russia has its own $-12-billion trade deficit with China. Though Brazil and South Africa enjoy trade surpluses with China, all four countries are suspicious of any move that China makes that they think can even remotely affect the balance unfairly. Thus, China is somewhat isolated within BRICS.