India And China For Concerted Fight Against Terrorism

China’s Minister of Public Security and State Councillor Mr. Zhao Kezhi visited India. His visit was close on heels of the visit of the Chinese Defence Minister to India in August this year. During his short yet significant visit, Mr. Zhao held discussions with India’s Minister for Home Affairs Mr. Rajnath Singh.  In the comprehensive and complex Indo-China bilateral relations; cooperation and collaboration between India’s Ministry of Home Affairs and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security are extremely significant. Besides, international and cross border terrorism which affects both the countries, facilitation of visa for movement people between the two countries is an issue which is handled by these departments of the two countries.

An important outcome of the visit of Mr. Zhao Kezhi was the signing of the agreement on security cooperation between New Delhi and Beijing. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in 2005 by both countries, but that had lapsed two years ago. It is expected that the renewed treaty between the two countries will help India to tackle the situation posed by the separatist outfits in India’s North-east.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed issues of mutual interest, including bilateral counter terrorism cooperation, and welcomed increasing cooperation between India and China in the area of security cooperation. The security cooperation between the two countries has traction in view of the Uiyghur separatist movement in China’s restive Xinjiang province. The ‘stapled visa’ issued by China to some Indian citizens also needs to be resolved amicably by Beijing.

The meeting between the senior leaders of the two countries also assumes significance in the context of listing of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a UN proscribed terrorist. China had earlier blocked international efforts to include Azhar in that list.

The Indian Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh had visited China in November 2015 and had met with the top Chinese leaders including the Chinese Premier Mr. Li Keqiang. During that visit, the two sides had reiterated their strong condemnation and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and expressed the commitment to cooperate on counter terrorism. Both countries had reached a consensus to “further exchange high-level Meeting Mechanism led by the Home Minister of India and the Minister of Public Security of China to be held in Beijing and Delhi once every two years.” These Meeting Mechanism by the two countries have played a crucial role in furthering bilateral ties. Mr. Singh and Mr. Zhao agreed to enhance cooperation in combating international terrorism through exchange of information on terrorist activities, terror groups and their linkages; exchanging experiences on anti-hijacking, hostage situation and other terrorism related crimes. Both New Delhi and Beijing agreed to coordinate on anti-terrorism endeavours at various regional and multilateral levels and to support each other’s initiatives.

The Chinese Minister for Public Security also met with Indian National Security Advisor Mr. Ajit Doval. They exchanged views on issues of mutual interests.

The meeting came just a year after a two-month-long border stand-off between the India Army and the China’s People’s Liberation Army at Doklam on the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held an informal summit in Wuhan, China, in April this year which helped repair bilateral ties. The Chinese delegation also visited the headquarters of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the country’s largest paramilitary force, where they were given a presentation about the functions of the force.

Cooperation between India and China, particularly for fighting the cross border terrorism emanating from India’s Western border is critical in view of the close and intimate “all weather” relationship between China and Pakistan.

Script:    Dr. Rupa Narayan Das, Strategic Analyst On Chinese Affairs