New Delhi: India has expressed ‘disappointment’ over China blocking the proposal for the fourth time to get Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist by the United Nations Security Council. China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, put a “technical hold" on the same and asked for “more time to examine" the proposal from the ‘1267 sanctions committee’, which aims to impose strictures against individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
While India had mounted a diplomatic campaign to collar Azhar, even the international support for India post the Pulwama attack as well as its strike on Balakot couldn’t tilt the balance this time.
Mint looks at five reasons why India wants to corner Azhar whose group JeM has claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack:
1. The UNSC ban on Azhar would have sent out a strong political signal that Pakistan was harbouring a UN-proscribed terrorist. It would have also meant a significant diplomatic victory for India and would further help in isolating Pakistan on the world stage.
2. It would have helped in giving a strong message to the other so-called non-state actors in Pakistan and its deep state, and may have forced the Pakistani military to rethink its long-term strategy of inflicting “death by a thousand cuts" on India.
3. Listing of Azhar as a terrorist will mean placing restrictions on his travel and freezing his assets. With his headquarters in Pakistan, this would mean limiting Azhar’s options on mounting attacks on Indian soil. It would also help further establish Pakistan as a ‘terror factory' by adding Azhar to the list of UN-proscribed terrorists and terrorist groups present and active in Pakistan.
4. Designating Azhar as a terrorist would have also helped in changing the contours of the great game in the sub-continent; given that China has historically used Pakistan to try to thwart India’s rise as a challenger to China’s dominance in Asia. This in turn would have helped India reconfigure the neighbourhood diplomacy given that China considers Pakistan an all-weather ally, describing their friendship as “higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the deepest sea in the world, and sweeter than honey".
5. If Beijing wouldn’t have blocked Azhar’s censure, it would help establish the new-found Chinese pragmatism in its international diplomacy and further aid the India-China relationship. India and China have been in the process of slowly mending ties after a 73-day military standoff in 2017.