China says Pakistan opposes terrorism

China on Wednesday said that Pakistan had always been opposed to terrorism. Beijing endorsed the credential of Islamabad in opposing terrorism just a day after India carried out an air-strike on the biggest training camp of the terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) inside Pakistan. “Pakistan has always been opposed to terrorism,” China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. ANI photo

China on Wednesday said that Pakistan had always been opposed to terrorism. Beijing endorsed the credential of Islamabad in opposing terrorism just a day after India carried out an air-strike on the biggest training camp of the terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) inside Pakistan. “Pakistan has always been opposed to terrorism,” China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a RIC (Russia-India-China) meeting at Wuzhen in eastern China. India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were present when Chinese Foreign Minister, who hosted the trilateral meeting, made the remark.

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India earlier on Wednesday conveyed to Russia and China that the limited objective of its air-strike on the JeM’s camp at Balakot in Pakistan was to pre-empt another suicide attack by the terror organization and it had no intention “to escalate the situation” further. “The limited objective of the pre-emptive strike was to act decisively against the terrorist infrastructure of the JeM in order to pre-empt another terrorist attack in India,” Swaraj told Lavrov and Wang.

“India does not wish to see further escalation of the situation. India will continue to act with responsibility and restraint,” added Swaraj, who also spoke to United States’ Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, before leaving New Delhi for Wuzhen late in the evening on Tuesday.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft targeted the biggest training facility of the JeM at Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan in the early hours on Tuesday. Pakistan termed the intrusion by the IAF aircraft into its airspace as an act of “grave aggression” by India and stressed that it had the right to defend itself and give a befitting reply.  

Pompeo issued a statement early on Wednesday stating that the United States would “encourage” both India and Pakistan to “exercise restraint and avoid escalation at any cost”. China too on Tuesday expressed hope that India and Pakistan would exercise restraint and take actions that would “help stabilize the situation in the region and improve bilateral relations instead of doing the opposite”.

India carried out the air-strike on the JeM camp in Pakistan less than a fortnight after the terror organization killed over 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in a “suicide attack” at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.

“In the light of continuing refusal of Pakistan to acknowledge and act against terror groups on its territory, and based on credible information that JeM was planning other attacks in parts of India, the Government of India decided to take preemptive action and the target was selected in order to avoid civilian casualties,” External Affairs Minister said at the RIC meeting on Wednesday.

China reacted to India’s air-strike inside Pakistan by underlining that terrorism was “a global challenge” requiring “cooperation between countries so as to create enabling conditions and a favourable atmosphere for necessary international cooperation”. Lu Kang, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Government, told journalists in Beijing that India and Pakistan were both important countries in South Asia. “A harmonious relationship between the two is crucial to regional peace, stability and development and serves the interests of India and Pakistan fundamentally.”

India and China had a series of engagements in 2018 to mend the ties that had hit a new low in the wake of the military face-off at Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan in June-August 2017.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had an “informal summit” at Wuhan in central China on April 27-28, 2018. The “informal summit” resulted in a thaw in India-China relations. The two leaders followed it up with three more bilateral meetings on the sideline of multilateral conclaves.

The February 14 suicide strike by the JeM at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, however, put India-China détente to a test as China condemned the terrorist attack but refrained from joining India and the rest of the international community to call upon its “all-weather friend” Pakistan to dismantle the terror infrastructure in its territory.

The JeM has since long been under the UN sanctions. But efforts to place its leader Masood Azhar under UN sanctions failed in the past as China struck to its policy of shielding terrorists based in Pakistan from international actions.

Swaraj on Wednesday referred to the terror attack at Pulwama in J&K in her opening speech at the RIC Foreign Ministers’ meet. “You are aware of the recent heinous terrorist attack on our security forces in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir perpetrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based and supported terrorist organization proscribed by the United Nations and other countries. We lost more than 40 personnel from our Central Reserve Police Force while several others are injured seriously,” she said.

External Affairs Minister said that such dastardly terrorist attacks were a grim reminder for the need for all the countries to show zero tolerance to terrorism and take decisive action against it. “Following the Pulwama terrorist attack, instead of taking seriously the calls by international community to act against Jaish-e-Mohammad and other terror groups based in Pakistan, Pakistan denied any knowledge of the attack and outrightly dismissed claims by Jaish-e-Mohammed,” she told her Russian and Chinese counterparts.

“In the light of continuing refusal of Pakistan to acknowledge and act against terror groups on its territory, and based on credible information that JeM was planning other attacks in various parts of India, Government of India decided to take pre-emptive action,” she said, adding: “The target was selected in order to avoid civilian causalities. This was not a military operation. No military installations were targeted.”

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China says Pakistan opposes terrorism

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