Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has claimed that his just concluded visit to China is a ‘successful’ one, as the Asian giant has agreed to help India in tackling threat posed by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – a Salafi jihadist militant group that follows an Islamic fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam.
Ahead of Parrikar’s arrival in Shanghai on Saturday (April 16), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India sent ‘Letters Rogatory’ to China, seeking Beijing’s help to unravel the IS’ conspiracy to influence Muslim youths in the sub-continent. The NIA also requested the concerned Chinese authorities to send details of the ‘chat conversation’ between an alleged IS recruit from western Indian Province of Maharashtra and his handlers in Syria and Iraq.
During his meeting with the visiting Indian minister, Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan said that they would send the chat details of Areeb Majeed to New Delhi soon. Majeed, arrested by the Indian anti-terror agency in December 2014, admitted that he was asked to trigger terror attacks in different parts of India. The 24-year-old Majeed, who spent nearly six months in Iraq, also revealed that he had used ‘WeChat’ messaging service for chatting with his handlers. However, senior NIA officers failed to trace location of his handlers in Syria and Iraq. As the server of WeChat is located in China, the NIA urged Beijing to find details of their chat conversation.
Meanwhile, India and China agreed to establish a hotline between the two military headquarters as a part of their efforts to improve border management. Addressing a joint press conference with Chang earlier this week, Parrikar said that the two Asian neighbours decided to hold a fresh round of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) during which both the parties would discuss various aspects of establishing the hotline. “The Chinese have returned the draft of the memorandum on establishing a hotline between the two military headquarters. The issue should be closed within one or two months,” the Indian minister told the media.
Later, Parrikar held a separate meeting with Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Fan Changlong to discuss outstanding border issues and bilateral defence co-operation. As expected, Fan expressed serious concern over India’s recent decision to allow the American forces to use its military bases. Parrikar told the press: “I said that the autonomous policy of India is very clear and it is based on our national interests.” He also assured the Chinese leadership that India would always follow its tradition of pursuing an independent foreign policy and never allow the US to “create trouble” in Asia.
In Shanghai, the Indian minister took up the negative fallout of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) from Gwadar to Kashgar. “We have made our stand very clear and expressed strong reservations in regards to China’s activity in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK),” Parrikar told reporters. He stressed that the Chinese side noted India’s concerns and highlighted on the economic aspects of the CPEC project, saying that it would have nothing to do with defence or military aspects.
India and China have a very strange relationship. While the two countries have emerged as each other’s rival in Asia, they are co-operating with each other (as members of BRICS – an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) at the global stage.