NEW DELHI/BEIJING, Apr. 25: The meeting between Indian PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi jinping may not see them getting into specifics of prickly issues but this does not mean India will soften its position on Pakistan and cross-border terrorism.
Foreign minister of India Sushma Swaraj in her address at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation foreign ministers meeting, also attended by Pakistan foreign minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif, reiterated India’s position directly.
“Our fight against terrorism should not only seek to eliminate terrorists but should also take strong measures against states that encourage, support and finance terrorism and provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups,” Swaraj said in Beijing.
The reference to Pakistan, though not named, was clear enough. “Terrorism is an enemy of the basic human rights: of life, peace and prosperity,” Swaraj said. She reiterated that the comprehensive convention on international terror be established and security cooperation within SCO strengthened.
Sources in Delhi said the Wuhan summit is intended to address “misperceptions” in the India-China relationship and the leaders will mostly focus on “positives”.
Despite ongoing Chinese activities in the Doklam region — though not at the site of the stand-off — the government feels confident about going into the meet.
On Pakistan, though, the government is not likely to initiate any bilateral engagement in the near future.
The Modi government believes that it should wait to see the outcome of the upcoming elections in Pakistan before engaging Islamabad. This, though, as a source said, does not necessarily preclude engagement on the side lines of a multilateral event.
While China has often said in the past that India needs to engage with Pakistan, sources here said the summit will have no bearing on India’s position ruling out dialogue with Pakistan until Islamabad takes concrete action to check crossborder terrorism.
In Beijing, sources said China may have already taken into account the need for action on terrorism in Pakistan before agreeing to an informal summit between Modi and Xi.
Even on the Maldives, sources clarified India will continue to have “abiding interests” in the country and that despite the difficulties in the relationship India had ensured that people to people contacts did not suffer. TOI
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