Lakhvi issue: PM Modi ‘strongly and ‘clearly’ conveys concern to Chinese President Xi

Ufa(Reuters): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday “strongly” and “clearly” conveyed concerns to President Xi Jinping over China blocking a proposal for action by the UN against Pakistan on the release of jailed Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, with India rejecting the “weak evidence” theory propounded by Beijing in this regard.

The two sides felt that the issue should be discussed further at the level of officials. Modi also voiced India’s concerns over the US $46 billion economic corridor that China is building with Pakistan as it crosses Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(PoK), which India considers its part.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly took up the issue (of China blocking the resolution). He conveyed India’s concerns,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said while briefing reporters on the 90-minute Modi-Xi meeting, the fifth between the two leaders in the last one year. Underlining that the issue was discussed in “some detail,” he said, “the Prime Minister expressed our view, how people see it in India.”

Elaborating, Jaishankar said, “the Prime Minister made our concerns known very clearly.” Asked about the response, “I can assume that the Chinese side was impressed with the clarity and directness in which it was conveyed.”

Indicating that the issue will now be discussed at the level of officials, the Foreign Secretary said, “it was felt that we should keep talking on this.” Asked what would be the format of the discussions on this issue, he said officials will take up from where the leaders have left.

“There is no particular mechanism. The MEA can discuss with the Embassy(Chinese). There are a range of mechanisms,” he added. At a meeting of the UN Sanctions Committee last month, India had sought action against Pakistan for release of LeT operations commander Lakhvi in the 26/11 trial in violation of a UN resolution but the Chinese representatives blocked the move on grounds that New Delhi did not provide sufficient information.

Rejecting the theory about “weak evidence” presented by China, Jaishankar said, “it is not an issue of evidence… The whole world knows what was the role of Lakhvi (in 26/11 attacks). If our evidence were weak, then why did all others (in the UN) accept it?”