Ahead of talks on counter- terrorism between China and India, China has expressed “willingness” to work with both India and Pakistan in the fight against terror, raising hopes that it may take New Delhi’s concerns about cross-border terrorism.
“Counter-terrorism cooperation plays an important role in India-China relations,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said. “Chinese side is willing to stay in communication with India, Pakistan as well as other countries in the fight against terrorism,” she added. India expects China, which has extensive military and strategic ties with Pakistan, to take up its concerns over groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and other home grown terror networks operating from the Pakistani territory.
“You mentioned Pakistan. Counter-terrorism cooperation is also part and parcel of China-Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership. The two sides are in sound cooperation in this regard,” Ms Chunying said, while referring to Pakistan military crackdown on East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) militants who carried out violent attacks in China’s Xinjiang province bordering Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Pakistan’s army launched air and ground operation called Zarb-e-Azb in Waziristan and other tribal areas where Xinjiang’s separatist Uyghur militants affiliated to Al-Qaeda operated. This ongoing operation by Pakistan is said to have taken place due to pressure exerted by China.
In his visit to Beijing last month, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif assured that that there were a “small number” of militants in tribal areas. “They are all gone or eliminated. There are no more there,” he had said. He ruled out any differences between Pakistan and China in addressing the problem.
Replying to a question about India’s concerns over terrorism, Hua said, “We believe the fight against terrorism in all forms will be conducive to peace, stability and security of each and every country as well as security and stability of the whole region.”
The counter-terrorism dialogue may also touch on the sensitive issue of China blocking India’s demand in the UN to take action against Pakistan for the release of Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
India had sought action against Pakistan at a meeting of the UN Sanctions Committee in June in New York, for releasing Lakhvi in the 26/11 trial in violation of a UN resolution, but China blocked the move on grounds that New Delhi did not provide sufficient information.
The issue was also raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Ufa on the sidelines of the BRICS leaders meeting in July this year.
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