Sushma Swaraj raises Masood Azhar issue with Chinese minister

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi  raised the issue of China vetoing India’s bid at the UN to ban Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar.

Swaraj took up the issue with Wang at a bilateral meeting here on the sidelines of the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting of their foreign ministers. Official sources said the issue was raised by Swaraj besides deliberations on a range of issues.

“The external affairs minister raised the issue of listing of Masood Azhar in the UN 1267 Committee and emphasised that as common victims of terrorism, China and India should cooperate in combating this challenge,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said after the meeting between two leaders on the sidelines of the Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers’ meeting.

“It was agreed that the two sides would remain in touch on this matter,” he said.

India approached the UN in February to include Azhar in the UN Security Council’s 1267 sanctions list, in the aftermath of the Pathankot airbase terror attack. IN the strike in early January by JeM terrorists, seven Indian security persons were killed.

However, China asked the UN sanctions committee to keep on hold the Indian move, saying that Azhar did not meet the UN criteria to be banned as a terrorist.

India has voiced disappointment at the “technical hold” put on its application to include Azhar in the UN sanctions list.

During Monday’s meeting, Sushma Swaraj and Wang also reviewed the state of bilateral relations.

They assessed the implementation of decisions taken during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China in May last year.

Swarup said the two ministers noted the significance of high-level exchanges contemplated this year, including the ongoing visit of Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar to China.

China will be hosting the G20 Summit, and India the BRICS Summit in 2016.

“The ministers appreciated the expanding trade and investment ties between India and China,” the spokesman said.

“They underscored the importance of strengthening people-to-people ties. In this context, Foreign Minister Wang Yi apprised the external affairs minister of China’s decision to increase the number of Indian pilgrims for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Nathu La,” he added.

Sushma Swaraj reached Moscow on Sunday on the second and final leg of her two-nation tour that earlier took her to Iran.

She is also scheduled to meet Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is co-chair of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on trade and economic cooperation, to take stock of the developments in strengthening this important aspect of the bilateral relationship.

She will also meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to take stock of the overall bilateral relationship

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