China counters Modi’s ‘terror factory’ tag on Pakistan

BEIJING: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently described Pakistan as a “terror export factory”, China on Friday sprung up to back its all-weather ally and called on the international community to support its counter terrorism efforts.
China is particularly worried India will raise the issue at the meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which will be attended by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitaraman this week.
Swaraj is expected to engage in intense negotiations and some hard bargaining with China on the issue of Pakistan-based terrorism. She will meet Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and possibly call on the country’s president Xi Jinping.
Swaraj may also seek Beijing’s help in dealing with its ally Pakistan on the terror issue, as New Delhi has done earlier.
On the other hand, Chinese leaders are expected to persuade Swaraj not to make heavy weather about Pakistan’s terrorism links. Responding to the Modi’s remarks, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “Terrorism is an enemy faced by the whole international community. We hope the international community can support efforts made by Pakistan on counter-terrorism and forge effective cooperation with Pakistan in this regard.”
Earlier this week, Modi said in London, “When someone has put a terror export factory in place, attacks my people, has no power to fight a war so attempts to attack behind the back… in such a case Modi knows how give a reply in the same language.”
Though Swaraj’s visit is focused on SCO, there will be bilateral meetings between the two sides ahead of the visit by Modi, who is expected in May or June.
China has been worried that India and Pakistan may get into sharp exchanges on the terrorism issue at the SCO meetings. They have recently become full members of SCO after being observers for several years. Other members are Russia and Central Asian countries.
Hua told journalists that the SCO would discuss terrorism-related issues. An important question is whether SCO would ask Pakistan to crack down on terrorists instead of adopting a soft glove approach.
Asked if the SCO would press its members to crack down on terror groups, Hua said, “Security has been a priority of the SCO since its inception and participants will exchange views on relevant issues,” Hua said, adding that China hoped all participants would “uphold the Shanghai spirit to move forward the development of the SCO”.