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PM Modi nudges China on Masood Azhar ban, NSG bid ahead of BRICS Summit

8thBricsSummit Updated: Oct 16, 2016 10:15 IST
Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping arrive for a photo opportunity ahead of BRICS Summit in Benaulim, Goa, on Saturday. (REUTERS)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday nudged Chinese President Xi Jinping to forge a common ground on designating Jaish chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist, saying the two countries should improve coordination within the UN panel that decides on such sanctions.

The two leaders, who met ahead of Sunday’s BRICS summit, also discussed India’s bid for a place in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and steps to address growing trade imbalance between India and China.

“There are designated structures within the United Nations that deal with terrorism. Prime Minister Modi told Xi that we should increase our coordination in this forum and look for common ground,” said external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

Both sides recognised terrorism was a key issue.

China is currently blocking India’s attempt to put Masood Azhar of the Jaish-e-Mohammed on the UN list of proscribed terrorists, a key objective for the Modi government. Pakistan-based Jaish was blamed for the deadly militant attack on the Indian army camp in Uri, Kashmir, which left 19 soldiers dead and further strained New Delhi’s relations with Islamabad.

Read | BRICS Summit: No talk on terror in China’s statement on Modi-Xi meeting

New Delhi has since sought to isolate Pakistan and is seeking support from neighbours and world power for its campaign against Azhar. But Beijing has yet to come on board.

“We can only convey our concerns. It is up to them to review their decision. We hope they will see the logic,” Swarup said. The issue will be taken up again when National Security Advisor Ajit Doval meets his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, next.

Xi, according to Swarup, alluded to the threat from IS and said India and China must strengthen their counter-terrorism cooperation, including their strategic communication and dialogue on this subject.

During their third meeting in less than a year, Modi brought up India’s membership of the NSG. Xi is understood have responded saying his government “will soon hold a second round of discussions (with India) on this and hoped it will help”.

Read | Will block India’s NSG bid, Masood Azhar ban push until consensus, says China

China has held back on supporting India’s NSG bid, saying it would wait for a larger consensus on admitting any country to the group that hasn’t signed the non-proliferation treaty.

Xi also assured Modi that Beijing was working to address the trade imbalance. Bilateral trade between the two countries have soared to $70 billion, but has left India with a deficit of nearly $50 billion.

The Chinese state media, Xinhua, quoted President Xi as saying that the development momentum of China-India ties was encouraging, and a healthy and stable bilateral relationship is conducive not only to both countries’ development, but to safeguarding the developing countries’ reasonable interests in global governance and international systems.

“China and India should constantly enrich their strategic cooperative partnership and chart the course of bilateral ties in line with the fundamental interests of their peoples... The two countries should maintain high-level communication and dialogue at all levels so as to expand consensus, improve mutual trust and deepen cooperation,” Xi said according to the report.

India is the last stop in Xi’s ongoing Asia tour, which has already taken him to Cambodia and Bangladesh.

For full coverage of the 8th BRICS Summit, click here