Pakistan has made great sacrifices in fighting terror and the world community should recognise this effort, China said on Monday, mounting an all-out defence of its “all-weather ally” amid a campaign by New Delhi to isolate Islamabad over cross-border terrorism.
The Chinese foreign ministry’s strong defence came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to Pakistan as the “mothership of terrorism” at the BRICS Summit in Goa.
There was no mention of terrorism in the official statement issued by China after the meeting between Modi and President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit.
If that was an indication of China’s position on India’s anti-Pakistan campaign, Monday’s statement put the official stamp on things – Beijing will not allow Islamabad to be isolated diplomatically over the issue of terrorism.
According to the foreign ministry, not only India, but Pakistan too has been a victim of terrorism.
“China and Pakistan all all-weather friends. India and Pakistan are both victims of terrorism. In combating terrorism, Pakistan has made great sacrifices. This needs to be recognised by the international community,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing.
“We oppose linking terrorism to any country or religion,” Hua said.
China’s statement in support of Pakistan was the most unequivocal one since India stepped up its campaign to isolate Pakistan following a sharp increase in violence in Kashmir earlier this year.
Earlier this month, China extended its veto against India’s move to get Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar sanctioned by the UN Security Council for the second time since April.
Hua noted that the BRICS Summit declaration mentioned counter-terrorism. “We have made our position on counter-terrorism very clear,” she said.
She repeated China’s stand on terrorism, using the usual words and phrases Beijing uses whenever there is talk of the menace, when she was asked about the allegation of Pakistan being the “mothership of terrorism” .
“This is an issue about counter-terrorism. Our position is clear and consistent. We oppose terrorism in all forms and we believe that the international community (needs) to make more concerted efforts to ensure stability and security of all countries,” Hua said.
“We oppose linking terrorism to any country or religion (but) whatever country or organisation is involved in terrorism should be seriously tackled by the international community.”
Hua said India and Pakistan should resolve their outstanding issues through dialogue.
“As for problems between India and Pakistan, both countries are close neighbours of China. We truly hope they can resolve these differences in a peaceful way through dialogue and consultation so that India-Pakistan relationship can develop,” she said. This serves the interests of the two countries and the region, she added.