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FS Vijay Gokhale meets Chinese Foreign Minister, raises Masood Azhar issue with him


New Delhi/Beijing, Apr 22: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Monday raised with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi the issue of Beijing blocking the latest bid at the UN to declare Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist while emphasising that both countries should be sensitive to each other's concerns.

Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar

India has shared with China all evidences of terror activities of JeM and its leader Azhar, MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a question on whether ban on Azhar was raised during Gokhale's ongoing China visit.

"It is now for the 1267 Sanctions Committee and other authorised bodies of the UN to take a decision on the listing of Azhar as a global terrorist. India will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice," Kumar said.

[FS Gokhale to visit China for talks with Chinese FM, Masood Azhar matter could be taken up]

On a visit to Beijing, Gokhale met Wang and held talks with Executive Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng and Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou. Official sources said China blocking the proposal moved last month to impose a ban on Azhar, the head of Pakistan-based JeM which claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack, figured during meetings Gokhale had with Wang and other leaders.

During their talks, Gokhale and Wang reviewed the progress of bilateral ties post Wuhan summit, emphasising that both countries should be sensitive to each other's concerns. China for the fourth time blocked a proposal at the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban the JeM chief. India had termed the Chinese action as "disappointing".

Fourteen out of the 15 members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) supported India's bid to list Azhar as global terrorist but China was the only country which did not go with the move. The fresh proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the UK and the US, in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

In 2009, India moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar. In 2016 again India moved the proposal with the P3 - the US, the UK and France in the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the Pathankot air base attack in January, 2016. In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again.

However, on all occasions China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee. Azhar's listing by the UNSC will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo. The MEA said Gokhale visited Beijing for regular diplomatic consultations with Le and Kong.

"They reviewed the progress made in India-China bilateral relations since the informal summit between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping in April 2018 and discussed the agenda for bilateral engagement in the coming months," it said.

The MEA said the two sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest, including the Indo-Pacific.


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