Sushma slams China for shielding Pak-based terrorists

Sushma slams China for shielding Pak-based terrorists

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI file photo

On the eve of her meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday slammed Beijing for blocking New Delhi's moves to bring anti-India terrorist leaders based in Pakistan under United Nations' sanctions.

In a written response to a question on China's support to terrorists based in Pakistan, the external affairs minister informed the Rajya Sabha that the communist country's policy of blocking consensus at the United Nations for bringing the terror leaders under global sanctions undermined the international community's resolve to combat terrorism.

New Delhi has been trying to get the chief of Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Masood Azhar, designated as an international terrorist by a UN panel. All individuals and entities listed by the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN are subjected to international sanctions, including travel restrictions and measures curbing financial transactions.

China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has been persistently blocking the process to designate the JeM leader as a terrorist linked to global terror networks of the Al Qaeda, Islamic State and others.

Sushma's strong statement on China's stand on terrorists based in Pakistan came just a day before she is set to host the Chinese foreign minister in New Delhi.

Sushma and Wang will co-chair the first meeting of the India-China High-Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges.

The meeting between Sushma and Wang is going to be the last in the series of the bilateral engagements, which the two neighbouring nations held in 2018 in order to mend the ties that had hit a new low over the 72-day-long military stand-off at Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan in 2017.

The decision to establish the India-China High-Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges was taken during the “informal summit” between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping at Wuhan in central China on April 27 and 28. The “informal summit” in fact brought about a thaw in India-China relations and the two sides followed it up with a series of engagements.

Sushma, however, minced no word in conveying India's displeasure over China's policy of shielding terrorist leaders based in Pakistan.

She informed the Rajya Sabha that New Delhi had requested China to support India’s move to bring the terrorists based in Pakistan under UN sanctions, in accordance with the communist country's “professed position of zero tolerance for terrorism” and “its desire for strengthening counter-terrorism cooperation with India”.

“However,” she stated, “China has not supported India’s request and placed a technical hold and blocked action by the 1267 Sanctions Committee.”

She also informed the Rajya Sabha that New Delhi had raised the issue with Beijing, including at the highest level, and had pointed out that China's position on the listing of such known terrorists under the 1267 sanctions regime should be in consonance with its stated position on terrorism.

“China justifies its position in the 1267 Sanctions Committee citing lack of consensus among its members on the basis of evidence. (The) Government (of India) has refuted this and believes that such blocking of international consensus, when a large amount of evidence is available before the committee, undermines the international community’s resolve to combat terrorism,” Sushma stated in her written response to the question by Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai.

She added that the Government of India consistently raised the issue of cross-border terrorism and placed high emphasis on international cooperation in combating the menace of terrorism, including in bilateral, regional and international fora.

“(The) government also remains engaged with China on this issue, consistently highlighting the threat of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and affecting the region, including India,” stated Swaraj.