China’s straight talk leaves India reeling

Published: October 11, 2016
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PHOTO: Reuters

PHOTO: Reuters

BEIJING: China said on Monday that “no country should pursue its own political gains in the name of counterterrorism” in what India’s jingoist media said appeared to be a reference to New Delhi’s global campaign to get Pakistan declared a ‘pariah’.

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said no country should have double standards on terrorism or use it for political gains. Though he didn’t name any country, the Times of India newspaper said Beijing “added insult to injury by accusing New Delhi”.

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Li was speaking to reporters on President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to India for the 8th BRICS summit in Goa on October 15 and 16. The BRICS group of emerging nations includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“There should be no double standards on terrorism nor should one pursue its own political gains in the name of counterterrorism,” Li said while replying to a question on criticism about China’s move to stall India’s bid for a UN ban on Maulana Masood Azhar, the head of Jaish-e-Muhammad militant group, which New Delhi blames for being behind the January attack on its air force base in Pathankot.

“On counterterrorism, 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 consensus and continue to strengthen cooperation on counterterrorism and other issues of political security,” Li said.

He added: “Counterterrorism, it is also 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.

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He said China’s position on counterterrorism is consistent and that “China opposes all forms of terrorism”.

China’s vice foreign minister also said that his country was willing to discuss ‘possibilities’ with India on its bid to become a fully-fledged member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

India last month said it had held ‘substantive’ talks with China on its attempt to join the NSG, a 48-member grouping of countries that trades in civil nuclear technology. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is campaigning to join the NSG to back a multibillion-dollar drive to build nuclear power plants in partnership with Russia, the United States and France, and reduce India’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels.

Yet his bid to win accession to the group, founded in response to India’s first atomic weapons test in 1974, has failed to win over strategic rival China, which enjoys a de facto veto because it operates by consensus.

Li said new NSG members needed to be agreed upon by all existing members. “These rules were not set by China,” Li said. “On the issue of joining the NSG, China and India have all along had very good communications, and [China] is willing to have further communications with the Indian side, to increase consensus,” he said.

“On this, China is willing to jointly explore all kinds of possibilities with India, but this must accord with the charter of the NSG, and certain rules need to be respected by all sides,” Li said, without elaborating.

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) recognises the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – as nuclear weapons powers but not others. India has ruled out signing the NPT but says its track record of non-proliferation should entitle it to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

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.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Oommen
    Oct 11, 2016 - 11:15AM

    China is India’s friend….It has pushed US, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Myanmar etc to make “deals” with India !!! Recommend

  • ajeet
    Oct 11, 2016 - 11:49AM

    No news about Cyril Almeida in Pakistani press? Scared of the deep state?Recommend

  • swetha
    Oct 11, 2016 - 12:07PM

    @Ajeet you are talking as if there was freedom once bro…There was none before and will be nill after… Democracy only in name…power vests with multiple institutionsRecommend

  • Logic
    Oct 11, 2016 - 12:15PM

    Modi needs to learn or will be taught …Recommend

  • Mayor
    Oct 11, 2016 - 12:55PM

    @Logic like Xi jinping coming to India for BRICS summit? If you have so much influence over China how about ask China to boycott BRICS summit? If China boycotts it is very clear South Africa, Brazil might not come. Chinese might poke here and there, don’t be under any illusion they will be next to you every time. Recommend

  • psm
    Oct 11, 2016 - 1:12PM

    What double standards!
    We know how mercilessly China with law abiding Muslims and Tibetans, yet advises India to show restraint towards self confessed, internationally recognized terrorists. Even Pakistani peace loving citizens want to jettison these non-state actors and get on with nation building.

    Or, maybe China secretly wants further diplomatic isolation of Pakistan and make it an entirely dependent and pliable client state to further its own political and economic gains. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Oct 11, 2016 - 1:38PM

    @ajeet:
    Dear Mr Ajeet, The fact that Cyril Almeida was able to publish his story in the newspaper and the fact that the newspaper is still supporting him says a lot about freedom of press in Pakistan. Kindly look into the media blackout being carried out by Indian troops in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Wait, are you also scared of truth being known to international public?
    ET kindly publish.Recommend

  • PB02
    Oct 11, 2016 - 1:46PM

    Wow what a shock! Those Indians must surely be reeling as this came from none other than China. If it was US,UK, Japan or any other country that would’ve been expected, no?
    Interesting though to see China defending Pakistani strategic assets when Pakistanis themselves are questioning their utility although privately.Recommend

  • Asad
    Oct 11, 2016 - 2:05PM

    @ajeet:
    So really there is a freedom of speech in India where World Human Rights has to face the courts and their activists have been harassed and called Anti Nationals. You guys are really hypocrites and at least in Pakistan we are proving one can have different opinions and there is a freedom of press. Oh not to forget what happened to students of GNU and how they have been treated for speaking of their own mind. Recommend

  • Terry
    Oct 11, 2016 - 2:30PM

    @Oommen:
    If only…Recommend

  • Ghazal - India
    Oct 11, 2016 - 2:47PM

    @Mayor:

    Haha, try doing the same to you partner US? They already dismiss your wild theories. Haha, China snubbed India more than once for Pakistan, there’s need to cry foul. Recommend

  • Bhavish Lodi
    Oct 11, 2016 - 2:49PM

    @Mayor:

    Sorry what would Pakistan gain from this? Sorry, why wouldn’t China support Pakistan because you think so? How do you know this from psychic mind? Seriously grow up instead of making wild fantasies like Mahabarat. You got insulted by China, twice on Pakistan request.Recommend

  • anz
    Oct 11, 2016 - 6:25PM

    Do you even realise that the discussion is on you guys and Pakistan is not even on the table.Recommend

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