NEW DELHI/ ISLAMABAD:
China on Thursday offered a robust defence of its role to block India’s demand for action against Pakistan in the United Nations over the release of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, insisting that its stand was based on “facts” and in the spirit of “objectiveness and fairness”.
In November 2008, the LeT had, over a period of four days, carried out a series of coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai.
At a meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Sanctions Committee last month, India had sought action against Pakistan for releasing Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the attacks, this April in violation of a UN resolution, but the Chinese representatives blocked the move on the grounds that New Delhi had not provided sufficient information.
“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China always deals with the 1267 committee matters based on facts and in the spirit of objectiveness and fairness,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told the media on Thursday.
She was responding to a question on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking up the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting in the Russian city of Ufa on the sidelines of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summits.
Describing the negotiations between Xi and Modi as “constructive and inclusive”, Hua said China had maintained good communication with India and other parties on the Lakhvi issue.
Regarding India’s concerns about terrorism, she said: “I can tell you that both India and China are victims of terrorism. China opposes all forms of terrorism and supports the UN playing the leading role in coordinating international cooperation on anti-terrorism. China has actively taken part in global cooperation.”
India considers Lakhvi the brains behind the Mumbai attacks and has repeatedly said that if the world wants to stop terrorism, it must start by taking action against individuals like Lakhvi who are being shielded by the Pakistani government.
“PM Modi strongly took up the issue [of China blocking the resolution] with President Xi. He conveyed India’s concerns,” Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told the media on the 90-minute meeting between the two leaders.
Asked about the response, Jaishankar said: “I can assume that the Chinese side was impressed with the clarity and directness in which [the concerns were] conveyed.”
Indicating that the issue would now be discussed at the official level, the foreign secretary said: “It was felt that we should keep talking on this.” The Indian premier also raised New Delhi’s concern over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) over fears that it would pass through Kashmir.
However, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah dismissed India’s concerns and insisted that the CPEC projects would benefit the entire region.
“As regards Lakhvi, you would recall that during the weekly briefing on June 25, I had made a detailed statement about the measures Pakistan had taken in compliance with the requirements of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.
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