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China rules out discussion on Pakistan's counter-terror record at BRICS

There will be discussion on Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts at the BRICS Summit in Xiamen as this is not an “appropriate” topic for the grouping, China has said.

world Updated: Aug 31, 2017 21:27 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Pakistan-China relations,Pakistan's counter terrorism record,Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo from April 2015 of a billboard with pictures of Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre) with Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on display during a visit by XI to Pakistan to launch the $46 billion economic corridor linking the port city of Gwadar with western China.(AP)

China on Thursday ruled out any discussions on its ally Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts at the BRICS Summit in Xiamen next week, saying it would not be a “appropriate” topic to be taken up by the grouping despite concerns expressed by India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be in Xiamen during September 3-5, is expected to raise the issue of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan in his speech at the summit and in bilateral meetings with leaders such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During a news briefing at the foreign ministry, spokesperson Hua Chunying expectedly came to Pakistan’s defence while responding to a question on concerns over terror emanating from Pakistan.

“We also noticed that India, when it comes to Pakistan’s counter-terrorism, has some concerns. I don’t think this is an appropriate topic to be discussed at the BRICS Summit,” Hua said.

“The world is paying great attention to the BRICS Summit. I hope relevant parties can work with China to ensure the success of the summit and make due contributions.”

Hua virtually repeated what she had said last year while reacting to Modi’s comments about Pakistan being the “mothership of terrorism”. Modi had used the term to describe Pakistan at last year’s BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit in Goa.

China had then jumped to Pakistan’s defence, saying the country had made great sacrifices in fighting terror and was itself a victim of the scourge. Beijing opposes linking terror to any one country, the foreign ministry had said at the time.

During Thursday’s briefing, Hua said Pakistan has been at the “forefront of counter-terror efforts” and made sacrifices. The international community should recognise its contributions and sacrifices, she added.

“China is willing to work with Pakistan and other countries to enhance our cooperation in counter-terrorism. This serves the common interest of all parties,” she said.

Beijing has been unequivocal about its support for Pakistan over allegations that the country is not doing enough to counter terrorism. The support will continue despite US President Donald Trump’s withering criticism of Pakistan’s anti-terror campaign.

India’s worries over China’s support for Pakistan on the issue stems from Beijing’s repeated veto of New Delhi’s move to get Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar sanctioned by the UN Security Council

On Wednesday, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi acknowledged that security will be one of the key topics at the BRICS Summit.

Wang said China expects outcomes in several areas, including strengthening economic and security cooperation, increasing cultural and people-to-people exchanges, enhancing institutional building, and promoting stronger partnerships with other emerging markets and developing countries.

While counter-terrorism was mentioned in the BRICS declaration issued at the end of last year’s summit, it wasn’t mentioned in the official statement released by China after Modi and Xi met in Goa.

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 16:01 IST