India looks to sign anti-terror pact with China despite Masood Azhar

04 November 2016

China, a hard core supporter of Pakistan-based terror groups, wants to sign a major security cooperation agreement, which would enhance their efforts to jointly fight terrorism and international crime.

The move comes after India earlier this year changed its decision to allow the visit of a Chinese dissident to this country after China protested. China, however, is sticking to its continued support to Pakistani terrorists.

The issue will come up when New Delhi hosts Chinese Communist Party's influential politburo member Meng Jianzhu next week. Meng is likely to visit India on 8 November, when the two sides are expected to seal the umbrella security cooperation pact.

The two sides are likely to focus on Pak-based terror outfits, terror infrastructure and terror leaders, including Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar, besides threats from the Islamic State.

The two sides are also expected to discuss the terms of mutual legal assistance, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Chinese leader's visit is part of a high-level mechanism that was established during home minister Rajnath Singh's visit to Beijing last year.

Meng, secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the ruling party, handles public and internal security matters in the party and is more powerful than some ministers in China, including its foreign minister and wields considerable influence on policymaking, according to China watchers.

India is pushing for action against Azhar as the Chinese veto in the UN Security Council against a move to ban the JeM chief is coming to an end in December. In September, China renewed its veto for three months on the Azhar case, seeking more information.

Meng's visit will be preceded by State Councilor Yang Jiechi's trip to Hyderabad on 4 November to meet National Security Adviser AK Doval. These high level visits could work as confidence building measures amid irritants in ties over Pak-based terror, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and Beijing's intransigence over India's bid to become NSG member.

Notwithstanding differences between China and India over Pakistan's export of terror to India, it has been learnt that Beijing is keen to work with New Delhi to keep a tab on Islamic State's recruitments in the region.

Both Yang and Meng may discuss a mechanism for sharing information on ISIS' influence.

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