Jayanth Jacob, New Delhi: India is up against the Chinese wall yet again.
New Delhi wants to get Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Mohamad Masood Azhar Alvi designated a terrorist under the United Nations Sanctions Committee but has a long path of persuasion ahead to get the support of veto-wielding Beijing, Pakistan’s all-weather ally.
For a long time now, the Indian government has taken the issue up with China, and an upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jingping in two weeks will be another chance for India to persuade its biggest neighbour.
For India, Azhar is the mastermind behind the strike on the Pathankot air base in January this year. Also, his militant outfit, the JeM, has been indulging in anti-India activities, including the attack on an army camp in Uri, India believes.
Listing Azhar would cripple his ability to raise funds and travel.
The JeM was listed by the sanctions committee on October 17 2001 on account of being associated with al Qaida, Osama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” or “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” al Qaida, Laden and the Taliban.
To put the date of listing in context, the JeM was listed 11 days after al Qaida was designated as a terrorist organisation.But India points out it’s chief has been let loose by Pakistan and the UN has failed in plugging this lacuna, much to its detriment.
China is the only country that blocks any effort to extend the sanctions to Azhar.
China did so in March with a last-minute intervention and the resolution of listing went into a technical hold for six months. When the hold was to end, China extended it for another three months this week. This is the last extension and the pending matter will have to be approved at the end of the three month period which ends on December 31. By then Beijing will have decide whether it wants to exercise the veto call.
Indian frustration was evident in the statement made by country’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin.
“The Committee has already pondered (over) our submission for the last six months. It will get a further three months to ponder, but that will in no way change the strange situation we have of the Committee designating the terror organisation but failing to or ignoring the need to designate the organisation’s most active and dangerous terrorist.”
Indian demand is that the committee should proscribe Azhar under the 1267 Sanction Regime on the basis of its submission.
Such a move, India, argues would help send a strong signal to all terror groups across the world that the international community is no longer going to “pursue, or tolerate, selective approaches to terrorism.”
For New Delhi, China’s position is helping Pakistan where it hurts India the most: Cross-border terrorism. And in the process, China is subscribing to the view of there being “good terrorists” and “bad terrorists”.In other words, China is supporting Pakistan’s “good terrorists” who attack India at will. But convincing China on supporting for the designation remains an exercise in fine persuasion.