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IAF pilot Abhinandan's release: China welcomes Pakistan's 'goodwill signals'

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Beijing, Mar 1: Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's release by Pakistan was termed as Islamabad's 'goodwill signals' by China.

China on Friday welcomed Pakistan's decision and encouraged the two countries to engage in more counter terrorism cooperation and dialogue for the regional peace and stability. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang made this statement earlier of Friday before the IAF Pilot returned to India.

IAF pilot Abhinandans release: China welcomes Pakistans goodwill signals

Pakistan released captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Friday evening as a "first step" to open negotiations with India. Pakistan detained the pilot following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control when his MiG 21 fighter jet was downed.

How IAF shot down Pakistan's F-16 in an aerial dogfight

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India from the Wagah-Attari border, two days after being captured by Pakistan during an intense aerial dogfight.

Pakistan had turned down a request by India to send back the Wing Commander by aerial route and not through the Attari-Wagah land border.

Asked how China views Pakistan's decision to release the pilot and whether Beijing played any behind-the-scenes role in it, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters earlier: "Well, from the start China has been calling upon the two sides to exercise restraint and take measures to ease tensions, engage in dialogue to resolve the differences".

LIVE Updates: Wing Commander Abhinandan handed over to Indian authorities

"I have taken note of the developments. China welcomes the goodwill signals released by the Pakistani side. De-escalation serves the common interests of both the countries. We encourage the two sides to engage in more dialogue for the peace and stability in the region," he said, as per a PTI report.

About Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's offer to investigate the Pulwama terror attack if credible evidence is provided, Lu said: "we encourage the two sides to take more measures to create favourable atmosphere for the joint efforts to deal with the relevant issue.

"The cooperation on counter-terrorism and jointly uphold the regional peace and stability, this is what China hopes to see".

China's call for more India-Pakistan cooperation on the counter-terrorism comes in the backdrop of Beijing endorsing India's demand for elimination of breeding grounds of terrorism and extremism and agreeing to have joint policy coordination under the aegis of Russia, India, China (RIC) Foreign Ministers mechanism. Briefing the media after the RIC ministers talks held on February 27 at the Chinese city of Wuzhen, Wang said: "we agreed to jointly combat all forms of terrorism through closer policy coordination and practical cooperation.

Especially important is to eradicate the breeding grounds of terrorism and extremism". External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who attended the meeting, held talks with Wang before the RIC meeting. Wang, in his concluding remarks, tried to strike a balance by backing Pakistan, saying "we believe that Pakistan has always been opposed to terrorism".

US, Saudi and a tough Indian stand: What led to the release of IAF Pilot

But at the same time, he said China would play a constructive role to de-escalate the tense stand-off between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama attack carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mahammed (JeM). China, however, is yet to disclose the stand it would take in the UN Security Council when the US, the UK and France resolution to list JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist comes up for discussion.

China has blocked previous three attempts by India and the three countries on the same issue. On Thursday, it sounded no-committal about the US, the UK and France resolution to list Azhar as a global terrorist.

"As we have said on many occasions, the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council has clear norms on the listing of terrorist organisations or individuals and relevant procedures," Lu said in response to a question on the issue.

China will continue to take a responsible attitude and participate in the discussions of the Security Council's relevant sanctions committees and other subsidiary bodies, he added.

OneIndia News with PTI inputs

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