Swaraj raises Lakhvi issue with Chinese counterpart

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said Mr. Wang assured that China opposes all forms of terrorism and that he will look into the matter.

June 25, 2015 01:38 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 04:58 pm IST - Kathmandu

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday raised with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi China’s blocking of India’s move in the U.N. for action against Pakistan over 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi’s release, saying it was at “variance” with progress in ties.

In the meeting held on the sidelines of an international donors conference in Kathmandu, Ms. Swaraj told the Chinese Foreign Minister that Lakhvi was “no ordinary terrorist” as he masterminded the Mumbai terror attack in which more than 166 people were killed.

“The External Affairs Minister raised the issue of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi on the stand China has taken on this matter in the United Nations 1267 committee. She said both India and China have been victims of terrorism and therefore there should be no distinction made between good terrorists and bad terrorists,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

“She said China’s stand on the matter appears to be at variance with the excellent progress otherwise being achieved in India-China bilateral relationship,” Mr. Swarup said.

He said Mr. Wang assured Ms. Swaraj that China opposes all forms of terrorism and that he will look into the matter.

“He (Wang) assured that there was no reason why India and China could not cooperate more closely on anti-terrorism efforts,” Mr. Swarup said.

At a meeting of the U.N. Sanctions Committee, India had sought action against Pakistan for release of Lakhvi in the 26/11 trial in violation of a U.N. resolution but the Chinese representatives blocked the move on grounds that New Delhi did not provide sufficient information.

Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 26/11 terror attack, was released from a Pakistani jail in April. The UN Sanctions Committee met at India’s request last week.

In a letter to the current Chair of the U.N. Sanctions Committee Jim McLay, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Mukherjee last month had said Lakhvi’s release by a Pakistani court was in violation of the 1267 UN resolution dealing with designated entities and individuals.

The sanctions measures apply to designated individuals and entities associated with terror groups including al-Qaeda and LeT, wherever located.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier taken up with Chinese leadership India’s concerns over China blocking its move in the U.N. for action against Pakistan over release of Lakhvi.

Lakhvi, 55, was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the six others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the 26/11 attack case.

A Pakistani court had on April 9 set free Lakhvi, a development which India said “eroded” the value of assurances repeatedly conveyed to it by Pakistan on cross-border terrorism.

Calling Ms. Swaraj’s meeting with Wang “very good”, Mr. Swarup said a number of important issues were discussed including how India and China could strengthen their cooperation and coordination on the reconstruction effort in Nepal.

“There was a very good discussion on Prime Minister’s path breaking visit to China where it was acknowledged that it had not only helped strengthen government-to-government coordination but also significantly improved people-to-people relations,” he said.

Mr. Swarup said there was also a discussion on opening of the Nathu La route for the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage and the External Affairs Minister thanked the Chinese leadership for their initiative in opening this new route.

Ms. Swaraj and Mr. Wang were here to participate in the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction, organised by Nepal to raise funds for rebuilding of the country, devastated by a powerful earthquake exactly two months back on April 25.

Ms. Swaraj also met Foreign Minister of Norway.

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