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Swaraj raises Masood issue with Chinese counterpart

Swaraj raises Masood issue with Chinese counterpart
India on Monday strongly raised with China its blocking of India’s bid at the United Nations (UN) to have Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj saying that bilateral cooperation was key in combating terror.

Swaraj took up the issue with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a bilateral meeting here on the sidelines of the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting of their foreign ministers.

“EAM (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. It was agreed that the two sides would remain in touch on this matter,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

Earlier this month, China had stopped the UN sanctions committee from designating Azhar as a terrorist, maintaining that the case “did not meet the requirements” of the Security Council.

This is not the first time that China has blocked India’s bid to get Pakistan-based militant groups and leaders proscribed by the UN. 

The UN had banned the JeM in 2001 but India’s efforts for slapping of sanctions on Azhar after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks also did not fructify as China, that has veto powers, did not allow it apparently at the behest of Pakistan.

Last July, China had similarly halted India’s move in the UN to take action against Pakistan for the release of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, saying its stand was “based on facts and in the spirit of objectiveness and fairness” with Beijing again claiming at the time that it was in touch with New Delhi.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar last week had said in New Delhi that India has taken up at a “fairly high level” with China the issue of Beijing blocking its bid to have Azhar designated as terrorist by the UN but the issue will not “overflow” into other areas of bilateral ties.

China had defended its decision, saying that it acts on such issues based on facts and rules in an “objective and just manner”.

After the attack on the airbase in Pathankot on January 2, India had in February written to the UN, calling for immediate action to list Azhar under the UN Sanctions Committee.

The Indian submission was considered by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) for technical aspects of the evidence provided.

The technical team then with the support of the US, the UK and France had sent it to all the members. 

All were told that if there are no objections, the designation will be announced after the expiry of the deadline but just hours before the deadline, China requested the UN committee to keep on hold the designation.

Min talks about Indian students, bizman deaths 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday met her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov here and raised issues of killing of an Indian and the death of two Indian girl students in a fire tragedy in this country, besides discussing key bilateral matters.

“EAM (External Affairs Minister) raised the cases of Indian nationals Yasir Jawed (who was killed in Kazan) and Puja Kallur and Karishma Udai Bhosle (who died during a fire at the Smolensk State Medical Academy). FM Lavrov briefed on the progress of the investigations,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

Swaraj raised the issue of the killing of Javed, a businessman from Srinagar, who died in Russia’s Kazan city last month, following an attack on him by a group of local goons, and enquired about the progress of investigation into the case. Javed was attacked by unknown miscreants in Kazan city on March 3 and died later at a hospital there after remaining in coma for several days.

“I want to know about the status of the investigation. At least the guilty must be punished after the probe,” Swaraj told Lavrov.

She also raised the issue of the death of two Indian girl students, who were killed in a fire at a medical university in western Russia. Kallur and Bhonsle, both from Maharashtra, were studying at Smolensk Medical Academy in Russia and lost their lives in a fire accident in February.

Swaraj also expressed regret over an acid attack on a Russian girl in India recently and said India has ensured treatment for the girl in India as well as in Russia. The Russian national was injured in the acid attack last November by her boyfriend.
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