India has raised its voice on a very major step by China of blocking a proposal by New Delhi to include Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar on a UN list of sanctioned terrorists as the foreign secretary S. Jaishankar said that the government did not want the spat to sour overall ties.
“The particular issue you have referred to is something we have taken up with the Chinese,” Jaishankar said in response to a question. “We have taken it up at a fairly high level. We will continue to pursue this with the Chinese.”
Earlier in February India’s permanent representative at the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, formally requested the UN panel tasked with identifying and listing terrorists – known as the 1267 committee after the Security Council resolution under which it was set up – to sanction Azhar.
The formal request from India to the UN asserted at correcting the major inexcusable contradiction – while the Jaish is proscribed as a terror group by the UN, but its chief Azhar is not.
New Delhi is convinced the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, behind the Pathankot terror attack on January 2. Azhar, who was under arrest in India in the 1990s but was freed in an exchange for realese of passengers on the Indian Airlines flight hijacked to Kandahar in 1999, is also accused by India of masterminding the 2001 attack on Parliament.
Last week China became a wall against India’s proposal by using its veto on the sanctions committee to ensure the panel had to put India’s request on what is known in UN jargon as a “technical hold”- requiring New Delhi to provide additional evidence to justify its demand. India insists it has provided adequate evidence to the committee.
“We find it incomprehensible that while the Pakistan-based JeM (Jaish) was listed in UN Security Council Committee established under UNSCR 1267/1989/2253 as far back as 2001 for its well-known terror activities and links to al Qaida, the designation of the group’s main leader, financier and motivator has been put on a technical hold,” the foreign office had said in a statement after China’s block.
Speaking at the launch of the India arm of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace , foreign secretary Jaishankar did not specify what he meant by a protest at a “fairly high level.”
But two officials indicated that the protest was communicated to China during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit last week to Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit, where Chinese President Xi Jinping was also present.
The inclusion of a designated terrorist in the sanctions list makes it mandatory for all UN members to cut off their sources of funding, a requirement that would make it harder for Pakistan to justify the financing Azhar currently receives.
It is not the first time that China has raised its concerns against India’s way. Beijing has stood between New Delhi and its efforts to seek UN sanctions against Pakistan-based terror chiefs various times.
In June last year, China had blocked India’s request to add the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its chief, Hafiz Saeed.
Jaishankar also revealed that India had held multiple discussions with China over the UN sanctions. “We have had a sort of back and forth on them on this issue,” the foreign secretary said. “So we will have wait and see how this proceeds.”
But Jaishankar also insisted India did not want to escalate the spat beyond the dispute at the UN, his comments coming amid suggestions that New Delhi had contemplated reviewing clearances for Chinese investment in India as a tit-for-tat measure.
“This is an issue to be pursued with the Chinese in a UN context,” he said. “I wouldn’t like to give the impression that somehow this will overflow into other areas.”