NEW DELHI:External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday told her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that Beijing’s recent action to block New Delhi efforts for UN action against Islamabad over the issue of 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi’s release was “at variance” with the growing bilateral ties between the two Asian giants.
Sushma had met Wang in Kathmandu on the sidelines of the Iternational Donors’ Conference for Nepal earthquake rehabilitation.
Raising the matter, she told Wang, “Lakhvi is no ordinary terrorist, he is the man responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks, in which more than 160 people died, including several foreigners”.
Significantly, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that Sushma described “China’s stand on this matter was at variance with the excellent progress that has been achieved in Sino-Indian bilateral relations”.
Swarup noted that China had assured India that it was against all forms of terrorism and that there was every reason for the two countries to cooperate closely on anti-terrorism efforts.
“The Chinese Foreign Minister agreed to look into the matter and categorically stated that China opposes all forms of terrorism and that there was every reason for India and China to cooperate closely together on anti-terrorism efforts,” he added.
Earier this week, Swarup had said India had raised its concerns bilaterally with all the other members on the UN Security Council, but singled out engagement with China on this issue. “In the case of China, this matter has been taken up at the highest level,” he said.
The official spokesperson was referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State visit to Beijing last month, when he had specifically raised the issue of “listings” of sanctioned terrorists with Chinese leadership.
India had written to the UN Security Council’s al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee on May 3 stating that the furnishing of the bail bond for LeT commander Lakhvi was a violation of the financial sanctions imposed on him since 2008.
Lakhvi was released on April 10 from Adiala Jail after the Lahore High Court dismissed the orders for his detention.
But India’s move to embarrass Pakistan was stalled after China, a permanent UN Security Council member, objected that there was not enough information to summon them before the Panel.
This is, of course, not the first time that China has helped Pakistan within this last month. Just a few days after PM’s visit to Beijing, China had put a technical hold on the introduction of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin in the list of banned terrorists of the UNSC Panel.
But for New Delhi, Beijing’s actions last week cut deeper with Lakhvi, as he had already been on the list since December 2008.
Beijing’s move to shield Islamabad at the June 15 meeting came exactly a month after Sino-Indian Joint Statement spoke of working together against terrorism in according with UN Charter and international law.