Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Biden, Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida and Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at Quad Summit, in Tokyo on 24 May

The leaders of the group elaborately discussed cross-border terrorism in the backdrop of the role of Pakistan Army and ISI based on inputs from India

New Delhi: In a stern message to Pakistan over terrorism, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), consisting of US, Japan, Australia and India, at the Tokyo Summit elaborately discussed the issue of cross-border terrorism (CBT) in the background of various reports and inputs suggesting dubious role of Pak’s army and its intelligence agency ISI. The leaders of the forum reviewed the situation in Afghanistan-Pakistan region in terms of terror groups seeking to increase their activities, and decided to keep a close watch over the developments through joint intelligence sharing, top sources told The Sunday Guardian.

Sources said that the Quad leaders are not satisfied with the action on the part of the security agencies in Pakistan and Afghanistan in terms of curbing terrorism. “The Quad felt that the role of Pakistan’s army and ISI needs to be under scanner in what is a strong message for leadership in Islamabad,” sources said.

“That the joint statement from Quad leaders underlined the need to deny military support to terrorist groups is also a clear signal to Pakistan Army which is evidently backing terror outfits to foment troubles in Kashmir, and is allowing these outfits to work with Afghanistan based extremist groups,” sources said. “The leaders of the US, Australia, Japan and India focused on every single detail regarding this during the discussion. PM Modi during bilateral with US President Joe Biden also brought up the issue of terrorism from Pakistan on the table,” sources added.

The Quad Leaders’ Joint Statement says, “We denounce the use of terrorist proxies and emphasize the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terror attacks, including cross-border attacks.”

In fact, the Quad leaders are convinced of India’s argument that the concept of state actors and non-state actors on the issue of terrorism is baseless as a state (Pakistan) cannot escape responsibility by hiding behind this faulty theory. What India highlighted was Pakistan’s “unacceptable” contention that non-state actors were behind terror acts in India. “Where are they coming from? Are they not coming from the territory under Pakistan’s control? Obviously, they are being patronized there. Pakistan must respond to that,” Indian diplomats ask.

While condemning unequivocally terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations, the Quad leaders said that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any ground whatsoever. Diplomats interpret this statement in the context of Pakistan’s ‘non-state actors’ theory.

India has shared documentary evidence with the US and other countries in the global community, showing how Pakistan’s army has been involved in infiltrating terrorists of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and other terror outfits into Kashmir. “Exporting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir has been a state policy of Pakistan which is implemented by its army and ISI,” the Quad was told. Documents recovered from militants in Kashmir have always proved that they came from Pakistan-based LeT group, obviously with the backing of the Army of the neighbouring country.

The joint statement of Quad asking countries to desist from cross-border terrorism especially against the backdrop of high-profile terror attacks in India is being viewed as a strong message to Pakistan. Censuring Pakistan in no uncertain terms for the cross-border attacks on the Indian soil, the Quad made special mention of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the terror attack at Pathankot airbase in January 2016. Interpreting this part of the statement, diplomats say that Pakistan is perceived by the Quad as guilty of sponsoring cross-border terrorism against India.

The statement said: “We reiterate our condemnation of terrorist attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks. We also reaffirm UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021), which demands that Afghan territory must never again be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists or to plan or finance terrorist attacks. We emphasize the importance of upholding international standards on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism by all countries, consistent with FATF recommendations. We reaffirm that in our fight against global terrorism, we will take concerted action against all terrorist groups, including those individuals and entities designated pursuant to the UNSC Resolution 1267 (1999).”