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Saturday, Nov 23, 2019

China sends senior minister to Islamabad to discuss India-Pakistan tension

In a rare decision to deploy a special envoy to discuss Indo-Pak ties, Beijing sent vice-foreign minister Kong Xuanyou to Islamabad to discuss the situation between the two countries in light of the recent tension.

world Updated: Mar 06, 2019 18:49 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
In a rare decision involving India-Pakistan ties, China has sent vice-foreign minister Kong Xuanyou to Islamabad to discuss the situation between India and Pakistan over the recent hostilities.
In a rare decision involving India-Pakistan ties, China has sent vice-foreign minister Kong Xuanyou to Islamabad to discuss the situation between India and Pakistan over the recent hostilities.(AP)
         

China on Wednesday sent vice-foreign minister Kong Xuanyou to Islamabad to discuss the tension in India-Pakistan ties in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack and the subsequent exchanges between the air forces of the two countries.

“He (Kong) is now visiting Pakistan. He is in communication with Pakistan on the India-Pakistan situation,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Lu Kang said at the regular media briefing on Wednesday.

It is a rare decision on the part of Beijing to deploy a special envoy to discuss Indo-Pak ties.

Tensions escalated between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir on February 14 in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack claimed by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

After the suicide attack, India carried out airstrikes on a JeM training camp at Balakot in Pakistan on February 26.

India has claimed that a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for suicide attacks were killed in the attack.

The Pakistan Air Force retaliated the next day, shooting down a MiG-21 in a dogfight and capturing Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

“His visit is designed for communication with Pakistan regarding the situation concerning both India and Pakistan. China has been promoting peace and stability in this region. We hope that Pakistan and India will maintain friendly relations,” Lu said.

To a question on whether Kong would visit India, Lu said, “China is in contact with India and Pakistan concerning the current circumstances”.

Lu added that Pakistan has been making efforts to combat terrorism.

“In fact, Pakistan has been making efforts and has exercised policies to combat terrorism. We think we should encourage this. We also hope relevant parties will create an enabling atmosphere to help Pakistan cooperate with other parties to form synergy,” Lu said.

Last week, Beijing had sent out messages of restraint to both New Delhi and Islamabad.

“I want to say that India and Pakistan are both important countries in South Asia. A sound relationship and cooperation between the two serves the interests of both the countries and peace and stability in South Asia,” Lu had said last week.

A day after the dogfight between the two air forces, Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi told his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected.

Responding to an “urgent” late night phone call from Qureshi last Wednesday night, Wang had “...stressed that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement in Chinese.

The statement quoted Wang, who is also a state councillor, as saying “...China is unwilling to see acts that violate the norms of international relations”.

When asked about the latest resolution submitted by France, the UK, and the US in the UN Security Council to list JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, Lu said China would take a conducive decision to resolve the differences.

China has so far vetoed India’s efforts to declare Azhar as a global terrorist at the UN security council.

Lu said, “As we said on many occasions the UNSC and affiliated bodies, it is a very serious issue for them to list the terrorists. China will have discussions with relevant bodies.”

He added that UNSC and its affiliated bodies have detailed criteria and standards for their work.

“China is engaged in consultations strictly in line with the standards. It requires high responsibility for us to work in these multilateral organisations and I can assure you that what China does will be conducive to resolution of such issue with high responsibility,” he said.