In what will give a major boost to India’s fight against cross-border terrorism, China is set to lift its technical hold on the listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the 1267 sanctions committee of the UN Security Council in early May, top diplomatic sources told The Statesman on Wednesday.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale is scheduled to travel to Beijing on 22 April to meet Chinese officials and discuss, among other things, a ban on Azhar, the mastermind of several audacious terror attacks in India, including the Pulwama attack.
Sources said China has “more or less” decided not to come in the way of black-listing the Pakistan-based JeM chief as a global ultra, which would virtually cripple the activities of his terror outfit. China is also said to be in touch with the US in this regard.
Beijing is believed to have already conveyed to Pakistan its decision not to continue blocking the listing of Azhar by the 1267 sanctions committee that aims to impose strictures against individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
“It has been made clear to Pakistan that Beijing will no longer be able to shield the JeM chief from global sanctions,” sources added.
Pakistan is said to have asked Beijing to give it some more time before lifting its technical hold on the listing of Azhar. “In all likelihood, the technical hold will be lifted in early May,” sources added.
China has so far blocked on four occasions since 2009 moves by India and some key members of the UNSC like the US, Britain and France to designate Azhar as a global terrorist. The issue has become a major irritant in Sino-India relations. However, India decided that it would exercise patience with China and ultimately succeed in persuading Beijing to give up its objection to the listing of Azhar by the 1267 sanctions committee.
Frustrated by China’s repeated blocking of the moves to ban Azhar, the US recently directly moved a resolution in the UNSC to designate the JeM chief as a global terrorist, much to the discomfiture of China. Beijing had accused the US of bypassing the 1267 sanctions committee.
When asked what would happen to the US resolution if China lifted its technical hold on the listing of Azhar as a global terrorist, sources said America’s draft proposal would then become infructuous.