China, which lifted its technical hold on listing JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN, said on Wednesday that it took the decision after it found no objection to the listing proposal by the US, the UK and France following a careful study of the "revised materials".
In a huge diplomatic win for India, the United Nations Wednesday designated Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Azhar as a "global terrorist" after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist him.
The 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council has detailed criteria for the listing procedures. China always believes that the relevant work should be carried out in an objective, unbiased and professional manner and based on solid evidence and consensus among all parties, a press release issued by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
"On this listing issue, China has been communicating with relevant parties in a constructive and responsible fashion. Recently, relevant countries revised and re-submitted the materials for the listing proposal to the 1267 Committee. After careful study of the revised materials and taking into consideration the opinions of relevant parties concerned, China does not have objection to the listing proposal," he said.
He was apparently referring to the evidence provided to China by Foreign Secretary Vjiay Gokhale during his visit to Beijing on April 22.
During his visit, Gokhale held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi and other top officials.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar in response to a media query on Gokhale’s discussions with Chinese officials on the Azhar issue said, "we have shared with China all evidences of terrorist activities of Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar".
"It is now for the 1267 Sanctions Committee and other authorized bodies of the UN to take a decision on the listing of Azhar. India 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," Kumar said.
Geng said the proper settlement of the Azhar issue again shows that in international counter-terrorism cooperation, "we have to uphold the rules and procedures of relevant UN body, follow the principle of mutual respect, resolve differences and build consensus through dialogue, and prevent politicising technical issues."
But at the same time, he heaped praise on Pakistan for its counter terrorism efforts in combating terrorist and extremist forces.
"I would like to stress that Pakistan has made enormous contributions to fighting terrorism, which deserves the full recognition of the international community. China will continue firmly support Pakistan's efforts to combat terrorist and extremist forces," he said.
China's decision to block moves to declare Azhar a global terrorist even after his outfit was proscribed by the UN had become a major irritant in the improvement of its ties with India.
Analysts say it also had a negative effect on China’s image in India as Beijing had to time and again defend the dreaded terrorist.
JeM’s admission of carrying out the Pulwama terrorist attack and subsequent India-Pakistan tensions following India's air strikes on JeM targets in Balakot, besides the US, the UK and France attempts to move to UN Security Council pressured Beijing to step up dialogue with Pakistan to agree for Azhar’s listing, they say.
The issue reportedly figured prominently during Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit here from April 25-27 to attend China’s 2nd Belt and Road Forum. Besides meeting President Xi Jinping, Khan also held talks with Premier Li Keqiang and Vice President Wang Qishan.
China earlier blocked India, US, UK and France moves in the 1267 committee of UN four times since 2009 by putting technical holds, stonewalling all efforts to list Azhar as global terrorist.