Doval raises Masood Azhar with China during talks on terror, border

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Apr 21, 2016 20:03 IST
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval meeting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after attending the 19th round of boundary talks in Beijing on Thursday. (PTI)

India raised Beijing’s blocking of New Delhi’s bid to sanction JeM chief Masood Azhar at the UN for the third time in a week when National Security Adviser AK Doval brought up the issue during talks with a top Chinese official.

Doval, designated the special representative (SR) for bilateral talks on the border dispute, raised the issue of Azhar with his counterpart, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, during a two-hour meeting at Diaoyutai state guesthouse on Wednesday.

Though the talks primarily focused on the boundary dispute, (it was the 19th round of talks under SR mechanism), the two officials discussed a wide range of issues, including counter-terrorism and the situation in neighbouring countries and the region.

Speaking to Hindustan Times before departing for India, Doval said it was “obvious” the Azhar issue would come up when terrorism was being discussed.

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Manohar Parrikar had raised India’s rancour on the issue with their Chinese counterparts earlier this week in Moscow and Beijing.

Doval said India and China want to maintain peace and tranquillity on the border.

India’s stand on the demarcation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), he said, has been consistent for some time and there were no new suggestions on this matter.

Doval called on Premier Li Keqiang before his departure in the afternoon, when he officially announced President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to China in May.

Referring to China blocking the bid to ban Pakistan-based terror suspect Masood Azhar at the UN, Parrikar had said on Monday: “It was not exactly the right direction they have taken and having a coordinated line on terrorism is in the interest of India and China both.”

Explaining China’s position, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Tuesday, “I can understand your concern. I would like to repeat our position that we support the central coordinating role of the UN Security Council in the world counter-terrorism campaign.”

She added, “We always deal with the listing matter in the UNSC according to rules of procedures and basic facts.” Hua did not give the reasons for China’s stand.

It is clear that if the issue of Azhar is not deftly handled by New Delhi and Beijing, it will dampen bilateral relations, which are already plagued by multiple issues.

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