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India, China conduct talks over Masood Azhar issue

India on Monday shared evidence with China regarding terror activities of the group Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar. To that end, Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale was in China on Monday where he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Executive Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng and Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed that India shared all evidence of terrorist activities of JeM and Azhar with China, adding, “it is now for the 1267 Sanctions Committee and other authorised bodies of the UN to take a decision on the listing of Masood Azhar.”

Gokhale also reviewed the progress of bilateral ties post Wuhan summit, emphasising that both countries should be sensitive to each other’s concerns.

Gokhale’s visit for bilateral consultations is taking place amid renewed optimism that the vexed issue of listing Azhar as a global terrorist by UN, which has been stalled by China, is headed for a resolution in the coming weeks.

Gokhale met Wang at the sprawling Zhongnanhai complex, the seat of power of China. In his opening remarks, Gokhale said both sides were making efforts to implement the understandings reached at last year’s informal summit at Wuhan between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We will work together with the Chinese side to deepen understanding to strengthen trust to implement the decisions that are taken by the leaders and to do it in a manner in which we are sensitive to each other’s concerns,” he said.

While one of the issues was Azhar’s listing, the other issue that has become a major irritant in the bilateral ties is India’s strong reservations to join China’s mega Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India has objected over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Asked whether the Azhar issue as well as that of the BRI figured in talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang said, “As to specific issues, the two sides have far more common interests than differences. The two sides should accommodate each other’s concerns and advance bilateral relations. In this regard, China is ready to work with India.”

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