Ahead of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s meeting with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called up Wang on Monday and briefed him on the evolving regional situation after the terror attack in Pulwama on February 14.
In a separate development, the EU has asked Pakistan to take “clear and sustained” actions targeting not only all UN-listed transnational terrorist groups but also individuals claiming responsibility for attacks. This comes following the Pulwama attack.
Swaraj is scheduled to travel to Wuzhen, about 130 km from Shanghai, for the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting on Wednesday. She will hold bilateral meetings with Wang and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Signalling a shift in its stand, China had on Thursday signed on a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) statement that “condemned in the strongest terms” the Pulwama attack and named Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) for the “heinous and cowardly suicide bombing”.
The statement was significant because China has single-handedly blocked the move to list JeM chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” at UNSC Resolution 1267 sanctions committee for the last 10 years. At least three attempts in the last decade — in 2009, 2016 and 2017 — have been blocked by Beijing, ostensibly at Islamabad’s behest.
While China agreed to name JeM, which is a UN-proscribed terrorist group since 2002, it has not yet yielded on Azhar’s listing.
Sources said Swaraj will raise the issue of listing of Azhar at the UNSC once again. Past such attempts have been unsuccessful, but New Delhi is likely to make another push, they said.
“The ministers are expected to exchange views on the global situation, regional developments of common concern, address global challenges such as terrorism and discuss trilateral exchanges and activities,” according to a statement from Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
For India, a welcome break from the EU
The European Union’s weak statements on terrorism have always agitated India. Monday’s statement, however, is a welcome break from the past. With the UK out of the European Union, New Delhi hopes that Brussels will take stronger position on terror attacks in India.
Meanwhile, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice President of the EU Commission, has urged Pakistan and India to urgently “de-escalate” tension following the Pulwama attack.
Mogherini spoke with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday and discussed the current situation, a EU delegation said in a statement in Islamabad. The EU is also in contact with India, it stated.
Mogherini also highlighted the need to “continue addressing terrorism including clear and sustained actions targeting not only all United Nations-listed transnational terrorist groups but also individuals claiming responsibility for such attacks”, according to the statement. She said EU’s policy has always been to promote a dialogue between India and Pakistan to sort out differences.
Qureshi, meanwhile, thanked China for its steadfast support. “He underscored Pakistan’s desire for peace and stability in the region and resolution of all issues through negotiations and dialogue with India. He also highlighted the steps taken by Pakistan to de-escalate the situation,” a Pakistan Foreign ministry statement said.