NEW DELHI: China played a constructive role in easing tension between India and Pakistan, Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui has said, in a reference to heightened hostilities between the two countries following the Pulwama attack.
On India’s push to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, the envoy said China attaches importance to it and is willing to strengthen communication with New Delhi to find a “proper solution” to it.
The Chinese envoy touched upon a range of issues, including contentious ones, in a write-up published in a Chinese embassy journal titled China-India Review.
“The recent tension between India and Pakistan has drawn broad attention from the international community. China has actively promoted peaceful dialogue and played a constructive role in easing the tension,” Luo wrote, without elaborating.
The Pulwama terror attack, claimed by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), escalated tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbours and even sparked fears of a full-blown conflict.
On February 26, India carried out an aerial strike on a training camp of the JeM in Pakistan’s Balakot. Pakistan retaliated the next day by unsuccessfully attempting to target Indian military installations.
After the Pulwama attack, a fresh proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the UK and the US.
However, China blocked the bid by putting a technical hold on the proposal.
“On the issue of listing in the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council, China attaches importance to and understands India’s concerns and is willing to strengthen communication with India to find a proper solution,” the Chinese envoy said.
He said China-India relations are mature enough to see that the differences are properly managed.
Referring to the Doklam episode, Luo said bilateral ties had reached a “stormy phase” and plunged into a “low point”, but the situation improved following last year’s Wuhan summit between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said the summit had a far-reaching impact in bringing the ties into the “fast lane” with “higher quality and greater speed”.
“The development of China-India relations is like rowing against the current,” he said, adding the two sides should focus on fully implementing the consensus reached between Modi and Xi, and make preparations for the second informal summit.
Luo also proposed four specific steps to further deepen Sino-India ties which include stepping up efforts to manage differences, keeping up the warmth of bilateral relations, raising the speed of cooperation in diverse fields and increasing people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
He said both countries should give positive consideration to signing a free trade agreement as well as an investment protection pact, besides addressing the trade deficit from an institutional perspective.
“At the international level, China-India relations are taking on a greater global significance as the balance of power in the world is rapidly evolving and the international system is under severe strain,” he said.
“Against the backdrop of anti-globalisation and rampant trade protectionism, China and India are working together as two major emerging markets to promote economic globalisation and free trade,” he added.
On the overall ties, he said China-India relations have a rare historic opportunity to take the relations to a new level, which could make them vital partners in shaping an Asian Century.
He said the proactive cooperation between China and India on pressing global economic issues will not only benefit the two partners, but will also strengthen solidarity and cooperation among developing countries and foster a just and equitable international order.
“We should make joint efforts to make China-India friendship and cooperation surge forward like the Yangtze river and the Ganges, write a new chapter in the tango between the ‘dragon’ and the ‘elephant’, and enable the ‘Peacock’ and ‘Phoenix’ to fly in unison,” he said.
Luo also pitched for realising at an early date the goal of USD 100 billion bilateral trade as proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The monthly journal was re-launched on Wednesday at an event at the embassy in the presence of a gathering of diplomats, foreign policy experts and academicians.