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Foreign secy Gokhale to visit China; may rake up Azhar issue

Reports suggest that Gokhale might rake-up the issue of Masood Azhar’s listing as global terrorist

Beijing: Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale will be starting his two-day visit to China Sunday during which he will hold talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as both countries grapple with a host of issues, including Beijing’s continuous attempts to block efforts to list Jaish-e-Mohammed’s chief Masood Azhar as a ‘global terrorist’.

BONE OF CONTENTION

  • Following the Pulwama attack, the US, the UK and France moved a proposal under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UNSC to designate Pakistan-based Azhar as a ‘global terrorist’
  • China stalled it for the fourth time by putting a technical hold on the resolution, a move India termed as disappointing

Gokhale will be visiting China for regular consultations, the Indian Embassy here said Saturday.He is due to meet China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi April 22. His schedule here is being worked out, it added.

The visit of Gokhale, previously India’s Ambassador to China before he took over as Foreign Secretary last year, is taking place amid close engagement between India and China following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack carried out by a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

Following the suicide attack, the US, the UK and France moved a proposal under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to designate Pakistan-based Azhar as a ‘global terrorist’.

China stalled it for the fourth time by putting a technical hold on the resolution, a move India termed as disappointing.

China, while saying that the matter moved towards settlement, firmly opposed the issue to be taken up by the UNSC and instead wanted it to be resolved by the UN’s 1267 committee on counter terrorism.

Beijing also accused the US of attempting to scuttle the resolution of the issue by taking it to the UNSC.

China considers Pakistan as an all-weather friend and has given Islamabad billions of dollars in aid to support its ailing economy.

Gokhale’s visit also coincides with China holding its biggest international event the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) to showcase its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in which the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project.

India has protested to China over the CPEC as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

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