Azhar ban: India hits China wall again

New Delhi : Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Goa for the 8th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit on October 15th and 16th, India has once again hit the China wall when it comes to getting the United Nations to label Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a terrorist. In a clear message that India is using the fight against terror for political gains, vice-foreign minister Li Baodong has said that no country should have double standards on terrorism or use it for political gains. This is a direct snub to New Delhi although the Chinese leader did not name India.

Li said:”There should be no double standards on terrorism nor should one pursue its own political gains in the name of counter-terrorism,” Li said.

The minister was answering a question on whether the issue of terrorism would come up for discussion during the Brics summit. “On counter-terrorism, the five countries have consensus. The foreign ministers of the five countries reached an agreement on the margins of the United Nation General Assembly. We hope and believe this Goa Summit will build on the pass consensus and continue to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism and other issues of political security,” Li said.

This assertion comes as a dampener after last week, Vikas Swarup, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said that India would ask China to reconsider its stand, seen as a significant extension of support to ally Pakistan

But on generalities, the Chinese leader was politically correct as Li added: “Counter-terrorism is also an important area of cooperation among BRICS on political security. Cooperation on this front will enhance BRICS coordination and contribute to world peace and security,” he said.

So once again China has played its Pakistan card although the minister did not make a reference to the fact that for the second time at the United Nations it had extended its technical hold on New Delhi”s request to brand JeM chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist. In April too, China in collaboration with Pakistan had blocked India”s bid to ban Azhar, named as the mastermind behind the Pathankot Indian air base attack in January.

India should talk to others also on NSG: Li

On the issue of India”s membership of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), Chinese vice-foreign minister Li Baodong said: “These rules are not to be decided by China alone… we are ready to continue consultations with India to build consensus and we also hope India can go to other members of the NSG as well.”

To prevent India”s entry, China has said that NSG’s rules disallow a member who has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  India has said it will not surrender its national interest by signing the accord, but its track record of non-proliferation should entitle it to join the NSG. India was granted an NSG waiver in 2008 that allows it to engage in nuclear commerce, but deprives it of a vote in the organisation”s decision making.

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