A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed Pakistan as a "mothership of terrorism", China today staunchly defended its all-weather ally saying it is against linking any country or religion with terror and asked the world to acknowledge Pakistan's "great sacrifices".
While defending Pakistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also said the world community should "seriously tackle" countries and organisations involved in promoting terrorism.
In a sharp reaction to a question about Modi's characterisation of Pakistan as a "mothership of terrorism" at the BRICS summit in Goa attended among others by President Xi Jinping, Hua said international community should recognise "great sacrifices" made by Pakistan in combating terrorism.
In his address at the BRICS summit, Modi had said "the most serious direct threat to our economic prosperity is terrorism. Tragically, its mothership is a country in India's neighbourhood," in an apparent reference to Pakistan.
Answering a question on Modi's remarks and his criticism that Islamabad is aiding and abetting terrorist groups opposed to India, Hua said "on counter-terrorism China's position is consistent. It is the same way we oppose linking terrorism with any specific country or religion," she said.
"We oppose terrorism in all forms and we believe that international concerted efforts are needed to ensure stability and security of all countries," she said.
"We oppose linking terrorism with any specific ethnicity or religion. This is our long standing position," she said.
"China and Pakistan are all-weather friends. India and Pakistan are all victims of terrorism. In combating terrorism Pakistan has made great sacrifices and this needs to be recognised by the international community," she said.
But at the same time, Hua also called for internal action against countries and organisations by international community while answering a pointed question about Modi's criticism that Pakistan continues to support anti-India terrorist groups by giving them arms, financial support and helping them to cross the border to carry out attacks in India and whether it is China's view that the world should not take a stand on Islamabad's support to terrorists.
"Whatever country or organisation involved in terrorism should be seriously tackled by international community," she said without elaborating.
In this context, Hua also pointed to the references to
terrorism in the BRICS joint statement issued at the end of the summit.
"During the BRICS summit the Goa declaration was passed in which counter-terrorism issues were touched upon. We made our position on counter terrorism very clear," Hua said.
The joint statement called on all nations "to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, which should include countering violent extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, radicalisation, recruitment, movement of terrorists including Foreign Terrorist Fighters, blocking sources of financing terrorism".
Hua also said China wants India and Pakistan to resolve their differences peacefully through dialogue.
"As per the problem between India and Pakistan both the two countries are close neighbours of China. We truly hope that they can resolve these differences in a peaceful way through dialogue and consultation, so that India-Pakistan relations can develop. This serves the interest of the two countries and the region," she said.