China Once AgainBlocks Move To Designate Pakistan-Based Jaish Chief Masood Azhar As a Global Terrorist


New Delhi: Allowing a major bilateral irritant with India to fester, China once again blocked a fresh move to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the UN Security Council.

A statement issued by the external affairs ministry in New Delhi expressed “disappointment” at the UN’s Islamic State and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee being unable to come to a decision on the move to sanction Azhar “on account of a member placing the proposal on hold”.

The statement did not name the Security Council member responsible for the outcome in view of the official protocols followed for the working of the Sanctions Committee, people familiar with developments confirmed China was behind the “technical hold” on the listing of Azhar.

“This is has prevented action by the international community to designate the leader of JeM, a proscribed and active terrorist organisation which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February 2019,” the statement said.

India expressed its gratitude towards members of the UN Security Council who moved the latest proposal for Azhar’s listing and the “unprecedented number of all other Security Council members as well as non-members who joined as co-sponsors”.

The statement added: “We will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice.”

The latest move to designate Azhar a global terrorist was made by France with the backing of the US and Britain in the wake of the Pulwama suicide bombing that was claimed by JeM and killed 40 troops.

This was the fourth time Beijing blocked the move at the UN Sanctions Committee, a decision that reflected its snug diplomatic ties with “iron brother” Pakistan.

Pakistan has been under growing international pressure to crack down on terror groups, including JeM, operating from its soil. The Pulwama attack led to the most serious escalation between India and Pakistan in years, with India conducting an air strike on a JeM camp within Pakistan that was followed by an aerial engagement along the Line of Control.

Beijing’s latest blocking of the effort to list Azhar raise question about the apparent upswing in relations with New Delhi after last year’s informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping at Wuhan.

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