New Delhi: India and China set the ball rolling on their first high-level meeting on bilateral security cooperation in New Delhi on Monday, more than a year after a tense standoff at Doklam between the militaries of the two countries.

The meeting, which was co-chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh and China’s state councillor and minister of public security Zhao Kezhi, discussed issues of bilateral counter-terrorism cooperation and welcomed increased cooperation in the area of security cooperation.

Kezhi is visiting India from 21 to 25 October.

Singh, however, raised the issue of China repeatedly blocking the proposal to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, according to senior home ministry officials.

Since 2017, China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, has blocked bids at the UN by the US, France and Britain to list Azhar as a global terrorist, citing lack of consensus among members of the UN Security Council.

“An agreement on security cooperation between the ministry of home affairs of India and the ministry of public security of China was also signed by the two ministers. The agreement will strengthen and consolidate discussions and cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism, organized crimes, drug control and other such relevant areas," the home ministry said.

Monday’s meeting comes in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting in the Chinese city of Wuhan in April, where they decided on a number of steps to bring down tensions and normalize ties following the Doklam standoff.

The Wuhan meeting was also followed by meetings between the two leaders on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Qingdao in June and the BRICS leaders’ summit in Johannesburg in July.

Other than terrorism, India is also keen to discuss the establishment of cooperation between the two countries to tackle transnational crimes and cyber crimes.

Elizabeth Roche contributed to this story.

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