India today made some plain speaking to China that countries cannot afford to have differences on the issue of tackling terror and put forward its concerns over Beijing blocking UN designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
The Indian position was conveyed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a bilateral meeting here that came against the backdrop of China putting on hold India's move to get Azhar, the brain behind the Pathankot attack, banned by the UN.
The bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit to be held tomorrow saw Xi disclosing that a second round of dialogue between the two countries will be held soon on India's bid for membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in which New Delhi hopes "differences" will be narrowed down. Xi said the dialogue would be helpful.
On the issue of terrorism, Modi told Xi that "Both India and China are victims of terrorism and the region was suffering from the menace. The Prime Minister said no country is immune from terrorism and on this issue, we cannot afford to have any differences," MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters after the meeting.
"In particular, India and China must increase their coordination in context of UN 1267 committee and look for common ground," he said.
India has been upset with China when it put on technical hold New Delhi's move to designate Azhar as a global terrorist by UN. Recently, China extended the hold by few months.
Swarup said both sides recognised that terrorism as a "key issue" with Xi asserting that the two sides should strengthen the security dialogue and partnership.
"Both India and China have been victims of terrorism which was a scourge afflicting the entire region," Indian Ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale quoted Modi as saying while referring to terror incidents in Afghanistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Swarup said India was in dialogue with China on enforcing a UN ban on Azhar. "We expect China will see logic in it."
The Prime Minister said India and China must increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism and look for a common ground and a long-term road to tackle the menace.
Xi said India and China must step up counter-terrorism efforts and strengthen security dialogue and partnership.
It was announced that Yang Jiechi will meet his Indian counterpart NSA Ajit Doval soon.
Asked whether China has been provided with any evidence in the pursuit of obtaining China's support on the Azhar issue, Swarup said "no evidence".
He said Indian side has not spared any effort to convey that to Chinese and it hopes that they "see logic".
To another question, he said China condemns all forms of terrorism and a counter-terrorism dialogue has taken place with it. "This will be discussed in the next round and our expectation is that China will take all steps... (to check the menace).
Replying to questions whether China has softened on its
stand on India's NSG membership, Swarup said, "This shows there is dialogue, a good strategic dialogue. Of course this will narrow differences."
Asked whether China reiterated the position that membership of the NSG was by consensus among parties, he replied "no".
Last month, a Chinese delegation led by Director General of Department of Arms Control Wang Qun had visited India for talks on the issue with Indian officials.
In the June Plenary of NSG in Seoul, despite strong American support, China stonewalled India's bid to get entry into the group on the grounds that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Swarup said Chinese leader clearly acknowledged increasing threat of terrorism and condemned all forms and manifestations of terrorism.
President Xi said terrorism and violent extremism were on the increase and alluded to the threat from ISIL while pitching for stepped up bilateral counter-terrorism efforts, Swarup told reporters.
Xi also said the two sides must maintain strategic dialogue on the counter-terrorism.
The two leaders also noted the upcoming visit by Chinese State Councillor Yang who will hold talks with National Security Advisor Doval where the dialogue will continue.
India and China held their first high level dialogue on counter-terrorism and security in September.
"The Chinese side is very well aware of our concerns, need for us to ensure that globally notified terrorists are designated by the UN. There is a close coordination between India and China on this issue and that particular dialogue will continue," Swarup said.
He also said that there was a brief discussion on the NSG issue.
On the economic side, both leaders noted the progress made in sector with Xi talking about various to address the trade deficit in favour of China.