Ahead of Doval visit, China sticks to its guns on Azhar issue

Ahead of Doval visit, China sticks to its guns on Azhar issue

Ahead of Doval visit, China sticks to its guns on Azhar issue

Ahead of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's visit here, China today stuck to its stand on blocking India's bid to get JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN, saying it was in accordance with "facts and relevant resolutions".

Ahead of the crucial boundary talks between Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi tomorrow, China also said it was in "sound communication" with all relevant parties including the Indian side over the Azhar issue.

As both External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar raised the Azhar issue strongly yesterday in their talks with their counterparts asking China to review its stand, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying once again reiterated that Beijing's decision was in accordance with "facts" and "relevant" UN resolutions.

"As for the listing matter China has already expressed its position. We support the UN central coordinating role in the world campaign against terrorism and China has taken active part in the world cooperation against terrorism," Hua said.

"We oppose double standards in counter terrorism campaign. We have been dealing with the listing matter in accordance with the facts and relevant resolutions. We are also in sound communication with all relevant parties including the Indian side," she said.

China's assertion came in the backdrop of Swaraj's remarks at the Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers meet in Moscow where she warned the international community of "serious consequences" if it continues to adopt "double standards" in dealing with terrorism.

China's "hidden veto" in blocking India's bid to get JeM chief Azhar banned by the UN has cast a shadow on the Sino- India boundary talks beginning here tomorrow.

While Swaraj raised the Azhar issue with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Moscow on the sidelines of the RIC meet, Parrikar, who held talks with top defence officials here yesterday, said he took up the issue with them.

"What happened in UN is not in the right direction and they have to take a common line on terrorism which is in the interests of India and China," he said.

Asked to elaborate on what "facts" China needed on the issue of Azhar, whose outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was banned by the UN in 2001, Hua said she needs to check on it.

However, she said the Chinese mission in UN is in touch with relevant parties including India.

Talking about criticism that China's stand of putting a "technical hold" on India's move at the last minute to get Pathankot terror attack mastermind Azhar banned by the UN smacked of "double standards", Hua said, "China is firmly opposed to double standards on the counter terrorism issue".

"China is also victim of terrorism. We believe that only by working as one we can fight against terrorism and maintain peace and stability of the whole world. There is no doubt about that," she said.

China supports central coordinating role for the UN Security Council in the global counter terrorism campaign, Hua said.

China along with other four permanent members of the UNSC has a final say on listing terror leaders and groups by UN committee on counter terrorism.

Last month, China had vetoed India's bid to get Azhar designated as terrorist by the UN Sanctions Committee, maintaining that the case "did not meet the requirements" of the Security Council. The Chinese action evoked a strong reaction in India which said that it was "incomprehensible" that while JeM was banned by the UN, its chief was not.

This is not the first time China has blocked India's bid to get Pakistan-based militant groups and leaders proscribed by the UN.

The UN had banned the JeM in 2001 but India's efforts for slapping of sanctions on Azhar after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack also did not fructify as China, that has veto powers, did not allow it apparently at the behest of Pakistan.

Last July, China had similarly halted India's move in the UN to take action against Pakistan for its release of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, saying its stand was "based on facts and in the spirit of objectiveness and fairness" with Beijing again claiming at the time that it was in touch with New Delhi.

Ahead of tomorrow's boundary talks to be held between Doval and Jiechi, officials said China is asking India to directly resolve the issue with Pakistan, which has become a major cause of worry as Islamabad while cracking down on terror groups active in China's Xinjiang province has protected militant groups that carried out terror attacks in India.

Besides the talks on boundary issue, which has been protracted for nearly two decades, Doval and Yang, the designated Special Representatives, have a mandate to discuss all issues concerning the bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The Azhar issue was expected to figure prominently in the talks.

On the boundary talks, Hua said, "We have been working to resolve territorial disputes through negotiations and consultation and we have completely settled territorial disputes with 12 of the 14 land neighbours."

Only the border dispute with India and Bhutan needed to resolved, she said.

"Both history and practice have proven that it is possible to resolve territorial disputes through negotiation and consolation," she said.

In tomorrow's talks the two sides will continue to work to strive to reach a settlement acceptable to both sides, she said.

While working for a solution "we would like to work together with the Indian side to maintain stability in the border areas and create favourable condition for the boundary question," she said.

On India's stand of delineation of the 3,488 km-long LAC to bring about a clarity in order to avert standoffs at the disputed boundary, she said the issue could be further discussed at the boundary talks tomorrow.

It was raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year and again highlighted by Parrikar during his talks with Chinese defence officials here yesterday.

"With regard to Line of Actual Control (LAC), we hope that we could have further discussion on that in the Special Representatives meeting. As for any breakthrough in the 19th session, I am not sure but I believe that both sides have the willingness to continue with the discussion, a friendly discussion on that," Hua said.

"During the meeting the two sides will work on the framework settlement to work out a plan that is acceptable to both sides," she said.

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