“Nursery of terrorism lies in conflict-ridden spaces made fertile for radicalization by malign players, including states,” the EAM said

The transition in Afghanistan and the warfare that has again been forced upon its people has sharpened the challenges of terrorism, said External Affairs Minister while addressing the inaugural session of the BRICS Academic Forum on Tuesday.

The EAM warned that if challenges of terrorism in Afghanistan are “left unattended, its edge will be deeply felt not just in Afghanistan’s neighbourhood but well beyond.”

“We are therefore all stakeholders in the quest for a clear, coordinated and undifferentiated response to terrorism. In the 21st century, legitimacy cannot be derived from mass violence, brutal intimidation or covert agendas. Representation, inclusion, peace and stability are inextricably linked,” he said.

Talking about India's presidency of BRICS, he said it is underpinned by four pillars of reforms- multilateral system, counter-terrorism cooperation, technological and digital solution for sustainable development goals and people-to-people cooperation, he informed.

Underling the urgency of updating and recalibrating the post-World War II multilateral architecture, Jaishankar stated that the pandemic and the normative breakdown in its wake have rudely reminded us that institutions built to tackle problems of the 1940s desperately need to be upgraded and made fit-for-purpose for our century.

Stating an expansion of the permanent membership of the Security Council as a necessary ingredient of a 21st century multilateral architecture, he cautioned that the expansion of the Council by itself is not sufficient.

“Multilateral institutions have been disadvantaged by structural inertia, competitive gridlocks, uneven resourcing and skewed navigation. The proliferation of new and smaller platforms, including of plurilateral and regional groups, is therefore a response to such felt gaps,” the External Affairs Minister said.

Recalling that BRICS itself was actually among the earliest in this regard, he argued, too often, we obsess with one or the other response; more effort and action is actually required to fill the gaps.

Calling emerging technologies, most strikingly digital technology and the energies of the Internet, are a force multiplier in any avenue of human endeavour, he said these can also become an instrument for sources of extremism and motivated misinformation.

“For us in India, digital tools have proved invaluable in pushing back the pandemic. In the year-and-a-half of living and coping with the Covid-19, they have accelerated contact tracing, vaccine delivery, online and mobile-based diagnosis; and targeted delivery of welfare,” the External Affairs Minister said.

He mentioned India’s 800/400 accomplishment i.e. food rations for 800 million people and cash transfers to 400 million – has been streamlined by digitally-enabled technology. The surge in online education has also been noteworthy, Jaishankar added.

He stated “the past years has made more of us alive to the limitations of an economic model that posits efficiency and pricing as antithetical to people and community or indeed to livelihoods and sustainability,”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a human-centric globalisation was not just a recognition of pandemic-induced distortions, but in fact of broader inequities, he added.

Maintaining that welfare and well-being of people, families and communities cannot be divorced from the global reset and resilience that is occurring in the long tail of Covid-19, he said a case in point is the imbalance between the emphasis on IPR in the pharmaceutical industry and the meeting of public health goals.

“Left untouched, the current practices will only delay the elimination of the pandemic by several years. This is simply not acceptable. But beyond health is a larger economic lesson for the world from the pandemic,” he recalled.

“The creation of more reliable and resilient supply chains is vital to infuse greater confidence in the global economy and in fact to de-risk it from future pandemics,” the Minister added.