Sushma Swaraj likely to raise Masood Azhar issue with China
New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to raise the issue of China blocking India's bid to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar by the UN with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, whom she will be meeting on the sidelines of a trilateral in Moscow on April 18.
A day after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said the Chinese action at the UN was raised at "fairly high level", MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup today said, India was in constant touch with China on the matter and further action will depend on the outcome of "conversations" between the two countries.
Announcing Swaraj's visit to Moscow to attend Russia- India-China (RIC) trilateral, Swarup said during her stay, the minister will hold bilateral meetings with senior Russian ministers and Yi to take stock of the issues of mutual interest.
Asked if Swaraj will raise the issue of Masood with Yi, the Spokesperson said,"all issues of mutual concerns and interests will be discussed."
Asked about India's future course of action viz-a-viz China, which has once again blocked India's attempt at the UN to get Pathankot terror attack mastermind Azhar banned, Swarup said,"Our Position on this issue has been stated very clearly that there cannot be different standards to judge terrorism.
"This point is known to China, especially in the context of China's oft-repeated concern on spread of terrorism and their desire to cooperate with us on counter-terrorism. This issue will be dealt with in the UN context. We are in constant touch with China on the matter."
He also said India has raised the issue at "high diplomatic level and our conversations with Chinese on this issue are ongoing and further action will depend on the outcome of these conversations."
Last week, China stopped UN sanctions committee from designating Azhar as terrorist, maintaining that the case "did not meet the requirements" of the Security Council.
This is not the first time 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 sanctions on Azhar after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack also did not fructify as China, that has veto powers, did not allow it apparently at the behest of Pakistan again.
Last July, China had similarly halted India's move in the UN to take action against Pakistan for its 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.
Swaraj will be embarking on a two-nation visit from April 16 when she will travel to Iran for a Joint Commission meeting and from there she will fly to Russia for the trilateral.