Bishkek, Jun 14: Chinese President Xi Jinping offered Beijing’s support for Pakistan and India to improve their strained relations during his meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan here on Friday, China’s state-run media reported.
Xi’s remarks comes a day after his meeting with Narendra Modi on Thursday during which the Prime Minister made it amply clear that dialogue with Pakistan is not possible without Islamabad giving up terrorism.
During their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit, Xi told Khan that China “supports Pakistan and India in improving their relations”, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of cross-border “terrorism” emanating from Pakistan during his talks with President Xi and said India expects “concrete action” by Islamabad to create an atmosphere “free of terror” for the resumption of dialogue.
Modi did not meet Khan on the sidelines of the SCO summit, spurning Pakistan Prime Minister’s suggestion for a bilateral meeting in Bishkek.
India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by a Pakistan-based militant group, maintaining that “talks and terror cannot go together”.
Early this year, tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Post-Pulwama attack, China made efforts to de-escalate tensions between India and Pakistan. President XI rushed Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou to Islamabad to discuss the Indo-Pak tensions.
During his talks with Khan, Xi also offered China’s support for Pakistan in counter “terrorism” efforts.
China is willing to help Pakistan within its capabilities, Xi said, adding that China supports Pakistan in implementing its national “counter-terrorism” plan to the end and is ready to help the country strengthen its “counter-terrorism” capacity.
Stressing that the two sides should well maintain, consolidate, and develop their all-weather partnership and all-dimensional cooperation, Xi said that China and Pakistan should carry out in-depth communication on issues of common concern, so as to make joint efforts to safeguard regional and international security and stability.
“The two sides should expand and enrich the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with new focus on areas including industrial parks, agriculture and social welfare,” Xi said, referring to the multi-billion dollar project which is part of his ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
President Xi also called on the two countries to take the upgrade of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement as an opportunity to vigorously expand bilateral trade. He also urged the two countries to foster a closer community with a shared future against complicated regional and international situations.
Xi noted that it has been his third meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister in the past eight months. “This,” he said, “fully demonstrates the high level of the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.”
He called on the two countries to carry out closer coordination and cooperation. Pakistan, Khan said, is committed to deepening its strategic relationship with China, and will firmly advance the construction of the CPEC. He added that his country will take effective measures to ensure security for the project. (IANS)
Militant, Army officer killed in Anantnag gunfight
Srinagar, Jun 17: An Army officer and a militant were killed and three other soldiers including a Major injured in a gunfight in south Kashmir Anantnag district on Monday, police said.
Police sources said the officer was shot at during the firing exchange between the holed-up militants and security forces in Bidoora village in Achabal area of the district.
The slain militant was believed to be a foreigner.
SSP Anantnag, Altaf Khan said that the operation was launched following specific inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.
He said that as the joint team intensified the searches, the militants, hiding in the area, opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight.
Initially, sources said, the joint team of forces and militants exchanged gunfire for some time during which the house, in which the militants were hiding, was damaged. Later there was a lull for about an hour even as Army rushed more reinforcements and the joint team started searches to find out the militants.
Soon the militants rose from the debris and opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in the on-spot death of Major Keetan Sharma and injuries to three others including another Army Major Rahul Verma, sources said.
They added the joint team of forces retailed the fire, leading to the fresh gunfight in an open field. While one militant was killed and the search operation is underway to find if there is any more militant hiding in the area.
The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is being ascertained, sources said.
Meanwhile, youth took to streets and pelted stones at the security forces. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.
In wake of the operation, the authorities snapped internet service in the southern district.
IED blast in Pulwama, 6 soldiers, 2 civilians injured
Srinagar, Jun 17: Militants on Monday attempted to blow off an Army vehicle in a village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
A police official said that an armoured vehicle of Army came under an IED attack in Hargam Arihal village of Pulwama. He added that after the blast militants also fired some gunshots towards the vehicle.
Local residents informed that they heard huge blast followed by gunshots.
Reports said that six soldiers and two civilians were injured in the blast. The soldiers were shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital at Badamibagh, Srinagar for treatment.
The area was soon cordoned off, officials said.
Earlier, reports said that militants exploded an IED under a Casper vehicle, extensively damaging it, as an army convoy passed through Arihal. However, the army clarified that the damaged vehicle was not a Casper, but an Ashok Leyland Stallion truck.
Three of them who were travelling in the cabin of the vehicle are stated to be serious, the news agency reported.
The blast was triggered by militants using a car laden with explosives, GNS reported attributing the same to “initial investigations by police.”
“A police officer that the explosives were fitted inside a car and investigators are probing the owner of the vehicle. Asked, which type of vehicle was used, the officer said that it is a matter of investigation,” the news agency reported.
“Samples have been collected and further probe is underway,” the officer was quoted saying.
In a statement, the Army called the attack a “failed attempt” by militants. The troops are safe, barring a few minor injuries, it said, adding, “The area has been cordoned and search operations are in progress”.
The blast comes days after Pakistan had reportedly shared information with India and America regarding the possibility of major militant attack in the south Kashmir district. (With inputs from GNS)
Emotional scenes at slain SHO’s wreath-laying ceremony
Srinagar, Jun 17: Emotional scenes were Monday witnessed at District Police Lines (DPL) Srinagar as top cops and bureaucrats attended the wreath-laying ceremony of the slain police officer Arshad Khan, who had sustained critical injuries in a militant attack in Anantnag last week and later succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS, Delhi on Sunday.
J&K Police chief Dilbagh Singh, Advisors to Governor K Vijay Kumar and KK Sharma, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmed Khan, ADGP Muneer Khan, and SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal, among other civil and police officers were present on the occasion.
J&K Police shared two heart wrenching photos of Dr Mughal carrying the deceased’s son in his arms during the wreath-laying ceremony.
In the photos, a teary-eyed Haseeb is seen carrying slain Arshad Khan’s son while paying tributes to his colleague.
On the occasion, Advisor Kumar said that more than 1600 J&K Police personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty.
On June 12, around 4:50 pm, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including Arshad sustained injuries after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at bus stand Anantnag.
Arshad was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital and then to Srinagar’ SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. After being treated there for a few days, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.
According to police, Arshad was inducted into police services in the year 2002 and was presently posted as SHO Anantnag. Khan is survived by father and mother, wife Neelofar, 5-year-old son Abuhan Khan, Danim 2, and a brother.