The agenda of the BRICS group of nations has expanded throughout the years to incorporate counter-terrorism, and security officials from member countries reached a “significant understanding” on the issue last year, priest of state for external affairs VK Singh said on Monday.

In his opening statement ahead of the principal BRICS foreign ministers’ meet, Singh said beat security officials from all the member countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) were scheduled to meet in July to take forward the discussions held by the joint working group on counter-terrorism last month.

“Other than cooperating on financial issues, the BRICS agenda has seen steady expansion. The BRICS joint working group on counter-terrorism finished up its meeting in May 2017. Our national security advisors are scheduled to meet one month from now. In the (New) Delhi meeting last year, they had reached a significant understanding on enhancing cooperation in security and counter-terrorism,” Singh said.

Singh made these remarks days after China said it was against “double standards” in battling terrorism ahead of the main BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting. “On counter-terrorism, we have a clear-cut position that terrorism is the basic foe of humankind. We restrict any double standards adopted by countries in counter-terrorism endeavors,” Lu Kang, foreign ministry representative, had stated on Friday.

Lu said five foreign ministers will “conduct a candid exchange of views” on terrorism. His past remarks and Singh’s say of counter-terrorism indicate that the issue will be in sharp concentration amid the meeting between the five foreign ministers.

New Delhi is required to flag the issue of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan – particularly on account of Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar allegedly masterminding dread attacks in India – at the meeting. China has repeatedly blocked New Delhi’s endeavors to get Jaish chief Masood Azhar added to an UN rundown of restricted terrorists, stating that there isn’t sufficient evidence against him.

Other than Singh, Monday’s meeting – chaired by Chinese foreign clergyman Wang Yi – will also have his counterparts from Russia (Sergey Lavrov), South Africa (Maite Nkoana-Mashabane) and Brazil (Aloysio Nunes) in attendance.

“India attaches great importance to BRICS,” said Singh. “We keep on working intimately with all our partners in the soul of mutual trust, respect and transparency to further enhance and reinforce our bonds.”

The clergyman also talked on India’s endeavors to promote BRICS as a brand among member states. “Amid our chairmanship in 2016, India attempted to consolidate BRICS as a brand by including our urban areas and masses in the BRICS procedure. We paid special attention to enhancing intra-BRICS collaboration and fortifying individuals to-individuals exchanges. We are extremely happy to see that the procedure is being carried forward under China’s able chairmanship,” Singh said.

The foreign ministers’ meeting is being held in the run-up to the ninth BRICS summit, to be held in the Chinese city of Xiamen in September.