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India raises NSG, Masood with Chi

Beijing, Feb 22: India on Wednesday raised its concerns with Chi over its continuing opposition to a terror ban on Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar and on stymieng New Delhi’s membership to the NSG — but the talks did not appear to have made much headway.

The issues have become the latest irritants in bilateral ties.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, co-chairing the first India-Chi Strategic Dialogue here along with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, also made India’s concerns known over the yawning trade deficit.

Briefing reporters after attending the dialogue, Jaishankar said he had conveyed that banning Azhar, mastermind of the Pathankot and Uri attacks, was not just New Delhi’s concern but the intertiol community was also “pressing” for it.

“On the issue of the 1267 Committee sanctions on Masood Azhar, we again explained to them the ratiole for that application and pointed out today that this was really being pursued by other countries, not by India alone,” Jaishankar said.

“The fact that other countries were pressing this application showed that there was broad intertiol support for this and concerns about Masood Azhar’s activities,” he added.

However, Jaishankar did not offer what Beijing had to say on the issue.

India raised the topic of the Jaish chief after Chi recently blocked a proposal by the US to add Azhar to the list of intertiol terrorists, adding to the three rejections in 2016 to the Indian proposal.

Chi maintains there is not enough evidence against the Pakistani terrorist and the issue was between India and Pakistan, which should be resolved mutually.

On New Delhi’s bid for membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group, Jaishankar said Chi’s “view of procedures and processes” were different.

“On the NSG issue the Chinese side underlined that they were open to India’s application for membership but they had their view of procedures and processes and these were somewhat different from where we are at the moment and where we think most of the group is at the moment,” India’s top diplomat said. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita