China offers to help eradicate ‘terror breeding grounds’

Joining hands? Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at Wuzhen in China on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

China on February 27 appeared to have walked a thin line by tacitly supporting Indian air strikes against the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camps in Pakistan, but making it plain that it would not label Islamabad as a state sponsor of terrorism.

China’s deft balancing act became visible during comments by Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the course of the Russia-India-China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting in the picturesque town of Wuzhen.

Without referring to the cross-border strikes by the Indian Air Force on February 26 on a JeM training camp in Balakot, Mr. Wang said that it was “especially important” to “eradicate the breeding grounds of terrorism and extremism”.

Endorsing the Chinese Foreign Minister’s remarks, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, on two occasions referred to Mr. Wang’s observation.

In response to a question on whether there was divergence on the Pulwama attack between India and China, Ms. Swaraj said: “As far as joint strategy is concerned, you just heard foreign minister Wang Yi’s speech. What he said during his concluding statement, he reiterated here, and he said that we would cooperate on eradicating the breeding grounds of terrorism.”

Adoption of common approach

Referring to the adoption of common approach by Russia-India-China, she said, “This is not only a common strategy for the three of us, but it is resolution for the three of us. Mr. Wang Yi said this during his concluding remarks and reiterated it here.”

But the Chinese Foreign Minsiter was also emphatic against accusing Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.

“China, Russia and India have reaffirmed our strong opposition to terrorism in its various forms and manifestations. At the same time, we believe that Pakistan has always been opposed to terrorism,” Mr. Wang observed.

Referring to the “recent developments between India and Pakistan,” he said he appreciated “statements by Indian and Pakistani friends saying that they would exercise restraint and avoid escalation of the situation.”

Besides, describing China as a “mutual friend” of India and Pakistan, he hoped that both countries “can conduct dialogue to establish facts through investigations to keep things under control and maintain peace and stability in the region.”

Short of offering mediation, he said that Beijing was “playing a constructive role not the opposite”.

Earlier, during a one-on-one with Ms. Swaraj, Mr. Wang promised that Beijing would not deviate from the momentum generated by last year’s Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. That meeting was meant to reboot India-China ties, sullied by the previous 73-day Doklam military standoff.

Xi-Modi meeting

“Last year President Xi and Prime Minister Modi held a very important meeting at Wuhan, and this meeting led bilateral relations into an honest and stable new stage. Led by the leaders all level of bilateral relationship is going well. Every level of the two countries and also international society are more optimistic of our bilateral relationship. In 2019 we are going to keep working on the consensus of the two leaders,” Mr. Wang said.

Also referring to the Wuhan summit, Ms. Swaraj spoke highly of the decision taken by the two leaders to pursue “strategic communication”. She said that the communication channel at the highest level provided an “important foundation for the development of our bilateral relations”.

She said, “This channel of strategic communication between the two of us and between senior officials of our two sides should always remain open.”

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 7:20:16 AM |

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