India assured China lead role as FATF head in exchange for removing support for Pakistan: Report

India assured China lead role as FATF head in exchange for removing support for Pakistan: Report

NEW DELHI - India congratulated China for becoming the vice chair of the global body, which is mandated to combat terror financing, and hoped Beijing would “uphold and support” the objective of the watchdog in a balanced and objective way.

On Friday, the FATF placed Pakistan under monitoring in its International Cooperation Review Group until June 2018 for compliance of Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Finance of Terrorism regulations.

This was possible after Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale travelled to Beijing, and played a role in convincing the Chinese to stop objecting to the US proposal on placing Pakistan on the grey list.

This came with India’s assurance to China that it will support Beijing’s leadership role in FATF.

Consequently, on Sunday, Ministry of External Affairs’s official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “Congratulations to China on its election as Vice President of Financial Action Task Force at the #FATF plenary mtg. on 23 February 2018. We remain hopeful that China would uphold & support the objectives & standards of FATF in a balanced, objective, impartial & holistic way.”

Kumar’s tweet was clear reflection of the understanding reached between Gokhale and the Chinese establishment that New Delhi will be supportive of Beijing’s role.

It was also a display of Delhi expressing gratitude towards Beijing for its stance at FATF against Pakistan, perceived to be an all-weather ally.

This also marks a beginning of what is being called a “more positive engagement” with China in the coming months, unlike the last one year or so.

While Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had visited Beijing in February 2017, the relationship has been on a slide since last April, when the Dalai Lama visited Arunachal Pradesh.

Efforts are now under way to put the relationship “back on track”, sources said, and Gokhale’s visit to Beijing on Friday was aimed at achieving that end.

However, tougher issues like China blocking India’s efforts to list Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” still remain on the table.