Voicing serious concern over terrorism emanating from Pakistan, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Nitin Gadkari asked China to step up pressure on its 'all-weather' friend Islamabad to stop "exporting terror machine" to India and act against perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.
During his meeting with the Chinese leaders, Gadkari, who is on a five-day goodwill visit here at the invitation of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), also expressed his party's opposition to issuance of stapled visas to Kashmiris and residents of Arunachal Pradesh as well as presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(PoK).
Gadkari told the Chinese leader that Beijing's attempts in the past to block Pakistan-based terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawaa from being blacklisted by United Nation had an "adverse impact" on BJP's efforts to improve people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
JUD was finally declared a terrorist outfit by the UN Security Council which also banned its leaders, after China, a permanent member of the UNSC, gave its consent following the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008. The BJP president, who held talks with Li Changchun, the fifth ranking member of the powerful politburo of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and Ai Ping, the Chinese Vice-Minister in the International department of the CPC, conveyed his party's "serious concern" over Pakistan- sponsored cross-border terrorism.
"The BJP expects China, which has a greater influence on Pakistan, to take up the issue with Islamabad and put pressure (on it) to stop exporting terror machine to India and act against the perpetrators of all acts of terrorism on the Indian soil, including the culprits responsible for the Mumbai attacks," he told the Chinese leaders.
Gadkari also told them that there was strong public opinion against Beijing's development projects in PoK as well as presence of its troops there, a BJP statement here said. It said the Chinese leaders shared Gadkari's concern over terrorism, stating that Beijing "understands the importance of all the issues raised by the BJP president".
On the meeting between the two sides, Chinese official news agency Xinhua said Li has "vowed" to enhance its relations with BJP and other Indian political parties for the betterment of India-China relations. Relations between the CPC and Indian political parties are important to ties between the two nations, it quoted him as telling Gadkari during the talks.
Li also expressed hope the two parties would continue to foster exchange and cooperation to further mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples. He hoped the two countries will work together to "cement political mutual trust."
Citing China's own concerns over terrorism from Pakistan in the Muslim Uygur majority Chinese province Xinjiang, Gadkari told the Chinese leaders that the menace was a common concern for the mankind. "Terrorism does not recognise any boundaries and there are very strong growing inter-linkages amongst terror groups," he said. He hoped that both India and China would work closely with international community to strengthen global framework against terrorism.
Referring to China's own concerns over terrorism, Gadkari noted that "China for the first time publicly acknowledged the existence of terrorist camps within the territory of Pakistan when it said that some East Turkistan separatists, who have been fighting for decades to make oil-rich northwest China's Xinjiang province an independent state, received training at the terrorist camps in Pakistan."
The "damning confirmation" came in a court document in the trial of 37-year-old Huseyin Celil, a China-born Uygur-Canadian, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, for taking part in terrorist activities and plotting to split the country, the BJP statement said. According to Indian Defence Ministry, there are 42 terrorist training camps in Pakistan, and Islamabad had not taken serious steps to control its terror apparatus directed at India, Gadkari said.
The BJP president also conveyed his opposition to the "serious issue of the stapled visa for the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and hoped that Beijing would resolve this at the earliest because it was damaging China's image among the Indian people."
Other issues which do not auger well for the BJP's efforts to strengthen relations between the two of the world's fastest emerging economies included China's military assistance and the supply of nuclear reactors to Pakistan, he said. Also the issue concerning the Brahmaputra River was causing apprehensions in India that water may be diverted, the BJP leader said.
He also apprised the Chinese leaders of the volatile situation in Jammu and Kashmir and said for any BJP worker, as also for any Indian, the state "is a symbol of sacrifice," the statement said. It has been the consistent position of India and also of the BJP that J&K, including PoK, is an integral part of India, it said. "The party is willing to make any sacrifice to ensure that J&K remains an integral part of India," the statement quoted him as saying.
Gadkari said, according to his party, China still occupies 38,000 square kilometres of the Indian territory in Ladakh and another 5,000 square kilometres ceded to it by Pakistan in Kashmir. He also expressed concern over reports of Chinese troops' presence in PoK. "The Indian government has independently verified and confirmed that PLA troops had entered the region," the statement said.
Gadkari told the Chinese leaders that "BJP strongly believed that the India-China boundary question should be resolved through peaceful negotiations and in a fair, reasonable, mutually acceptable and pro-active manner, and as a strategic objective." About reports that Chinese troops had entered the Indian territory near Ladakh last year, Gadkari said according to his party unit in Leh, "people of Nyoma Block of Leh who live at the border with China are facing lots of difficulties."
"The intrusion from the Chinese side in Demchok and the border area has made life difficult for them, as there are a lot of Ladakhis staying at the zero point," he said. Xinhua report said that during the talks Gadkari expressed admiration for China's tremendous economic growth and social progress. The BJP President also expressed his hope that relations between the two parties will develop and expand. The BJP delegation that took part in the talks included two general secretaries, Thawarchand Gehlot and Vijay Goel; joint-organising secretary, Saudan Singh; and Secretaries Arti Mehra and Laxman Kova, Vinay Sahasrabudhe and Vijay Jolly.