BEIJING (Reuters) - China sprang to long-time ally Pakistan's defense on Monday after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi branded Pakistan a "mother-ship of terrorism" at a summit of BRICS nations.
Modi's remarks 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 the nuclear-armed neighbors have been running high since a Sept. 18 attack on an army base in Kashmir, near the disputed frontier with Pakistan, killed 19 Indian soldiers in the worst such assault in 14 years.
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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, asked about Modi's comments, said China opposed all forms of terrorism and that the international community should increase counter-terrorism cooperation.
"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," Hua added.
China and Pakistan consider each other "all-weather friends" and have close diplomatic, economic and security ties.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)