China Thursday appeared non-committal about its stand on a fresh proposal moved by the US, the UK and France in the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
China, a close ally of Pakistan, has consistently blocked moves first by India and later by the US, the UK and France to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the 1267 Committee by putting technical holds.
Asked whether China will block the move to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Azhar as a global terrorist – a listing that will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo-Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang almost reiterated Beijing’s oft-repeated stand at a media briefing.
“As we have said on many occasions, the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council has clear norms on the listing of terrorist organisations or individuals and relevant procedures,” he said.
China will continue to take a responsible attitude and participate in the discussions of the Security Council’s relevant sanctions committees and other subsidiary bodies, he said.
Beijing’s constant blocking of the move has become a major issue of discord between India and China.
Sources in the government said India had given sufficient information to all five permanent members of the Security Council on the terror network being run by Azhar and why this individual must be declared a global terrorist.
“We have briefed the Chinese also about JeM and its head…what they will do is not in our hands,” sources said, adding other countries also might try to convince Beijing not to block Azhar’s designation by the world body.
The US, the UK and France have moved a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based terror group JeM’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, a listing that will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo.
The proposal was moved Wednesday by the three permanent veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council.
The Security Council Sanctions Committee will have 10 working days to consider the fresh proposal submitted by the three members.
It is the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist.
An assets freeze under the Sanctions Committee requires that all states freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.
The travel ban entails preventing the entry into or transit by all states through their territories by designated individuals. Under the arms embargo, all states are required to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale and transfer from their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related material of all types, spare parts, and technical advice, assistance, or training related to military activities, to designated individuals and entities.
In 2009, India moved a proposal to designate Azhar, whose UN-proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the suicide attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama on February 14 in which over 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed.
In 2016 again, India moved the proposal with the P3 – the United States, the United Kingdom and France in the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the airbase in Pathankot in January 2016.
In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, on all occasions, China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked India’s proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee. It remains to be seen how China will vote on the proposal this time.
China’s approach this time is closely watched in view of the transformation of India-China relations after last year’s Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
China has taken a more guarded approach since the Pulwama terror attack claimed by Pakistan-based JeM which killed over 44 CRPF soldiers.
China had to sign off on the February 21 UNSC press statement that “condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir”.
In the wake of the Pulwama terror attack by the JeM, tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan.
India carried out “non-military pre-emptive” airstrikes targeting the JeM training camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80-km from the Line of Control (LoC) early Tuesday, killing a “very large number” of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders.
In a 21-minute offensive, 12 Mirage 2000 jets carried out the strike at around 3.30 am and dropped 1000 Kg bombs on terror camps across LoC, completely destroying it and killing over 300 terrorists.
(With agency inputs)