China on Tuesday nudged India and Pakistan to establish direct communication to resolve differences on listing Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Chief Masood Azhar on the UN terror roll, amid New Delhi’s decision to deny a visa to a Uighur leader, wanted by Beijing.

In a written response to a question posed by PTI, on India’s talks with China following Beijing’s decision to raise a “technical hold” on move by New Delhi for listing the JeM chief on the UN terror register, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying said: “We encourage all parties related to the listing matter of Masood Azhar to have direct communication and work out a solution through serious consultations.” She added: “China is willing to continue with its communication with all the relevant parties,” signaling Beijing’s intent to stay diplomatically engaged on this subject, and achieve results based on consensus.

The spokesperson stressed that China’s advocacy of direct talks between New Delhi and Islamabad was anchored in the rules and procedure of the UN 1267 committee, where the Azhar issue had been raised. She pointed out that the “committee encourages countries that ask for the listing and countries where individuals or entities covered in the listing come from or live in”. Analysts say that the pointed citation on a provision of international law, could help Beijing steer clear of a possible controversy in the future, for adopting a “condescending approach” towards a subject that embroiled India and Pakistan.

Official sources confirmed that China was engaging India and Pakistan on the Masood Azhar issue at the UN headquarters, besides other fora. They pointed out that sustained diplomatic interaction between the two South Asian neighbours could yield “suitable language” which could be included in a new draft that would be acceptable to both sides. The sources stressed that China was committed to an unambiguous stand on countering terrorism, and, once again, rejected the assertion that Beijing was pursuing “double standards” on international terrorism.

China’s support for direct talks on Tuesday follows India’s decision not to grant a visa to controversial Uighur leader Dolkun Isa, of the World Uighur Congress (WUC). The spokesperson said that the situation that had arisen following media reports of India granting visa to Mr. Dolkun, highlighted “very good communication” between China and India. “We expressed our concerns to the Indian side immediately,” Ms. Hua said. “We hope the two countries will properly deal with the relevant issue,” she observed.

The sources said that following the media reports, the Chinese side through official diplomatic channels immediately sought a clarification on India’s formal position. The officials, however, were non-committal on whether a closure to the controversy had now been achieved, pointing out that official communication from New Delhi on this subject was yet to be received.

However, sections of the Chinese state media have welcomed New Delhi’s decision not to grant visa to Mr. Dolkun.

A write-up in the state-run Global Times on Tuesday quoted “experts” as saying the New Delhi’s decision “would strengthen cooperation between China and India on fighting terrorism”.

“India has made a cogitative decision, and shows the common views of China and India in fighting terrorism and separatism, and the determination of further cooperation,” the daily quoted Fu Xiaoqiang, an expert on South Asian studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, as saying. “It will contribute to the healthy development of relations between China and India”, observed Mr. Fu.