BEIJING: China sprang to Pakistan’s defence on Monday after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Pakistan of being a “mother-ship of terrorism” at a summit of BRICS nations.

Mr Modi’s remarks on Sunday to a meeting of leaders from BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — escalated his diplomatic drive to isolate Pakistan, which India accuses of sponsoring cross-border terrorism.

Tensions between Islama­bad and New Delhi have been running high since a Sept 18 attack on an army base in India-held Kashmir near the Line of Control killed 19 Indian soldiers in the worst such assault in 14 years.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chuny­ing, asked about Mr Modi’s comments, said China opposed all forms of terrorism and that the international community should increase counterterrorism cooperation.

Another N-power project built with Beijing’s help becomes functional

“We also oppose the linking of terrorism to any specific country, ethnicity or religion. This is China’s consistent position,” she told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

“Everyone knows that India and Pakistan are victims of terrorism. Pakistan has made huge efforts and great sacrifices in fighting terrorism. I think the international community should respect this,” Ms Hua added.

China and Pakistan consider each other “all-weather friends” and have close diplomatic, economic and security ties.

Cooperation widens

The latest example of bilateral cooperation came on Monday when a Chinese firm announced that the third unit of the Chashma nuclear power project in Pakistan had gone into full operation, marking the completion of China’s third overseas reactor.

The China National Nucl­ear Corporation (CNNC) announced that the unit was formally connected to the grid on Saturday at a ceremony in Pakistan.

China’s first overseas reactor at Chashma went into operation in the year 2000, while the second was completed in 2011. The fourth one is expected to go into full operation in the first half of next year.

China has also agreed to invest $6.5 billion to build a reactor in Karachi. The project will mark the overseas debut of China’s homegrown third-generation reactor design known as the Hualong One. It is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Beijing is in the middle of a reactor building programme that aims to bring domestic nuclear generating capacity up to 58 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2020, up from 31.5GW at the end of August. An industry official said last month that as many as 60 nuclear plants are expected to be built in the coming decade.

Besides, as well as investing in Britain’s Hinkley Point C reactor with France’s EDF, Beijing has also signed cooperation agreements with Argentina, Romania, Egypt and Kenya.

The CNNC said that it had already exported a total of seven reactor units, and had also established technology and trade relations with more than 40 nations. Representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency told Reuters last month that while China’s safety record was strong, it had to do more to ensure that countries importing Chinese technology were capable of imposing the necessary regulations.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2016