New Delhi: India on Friday said China’s decision to block an effort to designate Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will not deter its fight against terrorism.
India’s comments came a day after China blocked the proposal brought in by the US, France and Britain to list Azhar as a global terrorist, citing a lack of consensus among the members of the UNSC.
A veto-wielding permanent member of the UNSC, China has repeatedly blocked efforts by India to get Azhar designated a terrorist under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UNSC.
“We have to see how the process works...you know who are the 15 members of the UNSC," said Raveesh Kumar, spokesman for the Indian foreign ministry.
“The decision by a country to block consensus should not be seen as an end in our counter-terrorism efforts, it does not in anyway take away our resolve to fight terrorism," he said.
When asked to comment on a remark by China’s assistant foreign minister Chen Xiaodong that Beijing was ready to work with India to promote “constant progress" of bilateral relations, Kumar recalled that at a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xiamen in September, on the sidelines of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa emerging economies summit, both sides had decided to put past differences behind them and to move ahead.
“Efforts will continue at different levels to ensure that the relationship we have is strengthened," Kumar said.
The block at the UN by China came as President Xi Jinping is beginning his second five-year term after the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress last month. The Chinese block is seen as one of the irritants in the India-China bilateral relationship.
The JeM, founded by Azhar, has already been in the UN’s list of banned terror outfits.
That China would block the move became apparent earlier this week when Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing that “we raised a technical hold so as to allow more time for the committee and its members to deliberate on this matter. But there is still absence of consensus on this matter."
In another development, Kumar said that India would likely seek the extradition from Malaysia in the coming weeks of Zakir Naik, a televangelist whose hardline views have sparked a criminal investigation back home.
“Any formal request where we are seeking the assistance of any foreign government in cases of extradition, it requires a legal process internally first," said Kumar, when asked if India would be seeking the extradition of Naik.
“At this stage I can share with you that we are nearing the completion of this exercise and once this exercise is complete, we will make a request to the Malaysian government on this matter," Kumar said.
Naik, a 52-year-old medical doctor, has sparked controversy with his puritan brand of Islam - recommending the death penalty for homosexuals and those who abandon Islam as their faith. A Reuters report earlier this week said Naik had been given permanent residency in Malaysia.