China once again rescues terrorist Masood Azhar, helping all-weather ally Pakistan

China has blocked a bid to designate Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the group behind an attack which brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

JeM carried out a deadly suicide bombing on the Indian paramilitary convoy killing 40 in Kashmir.

This was the fourth time that Beijing used the veto to prevent Masood Azhar from being blacklisted by the United Nations. A UN blacklisting will subject Masood Azhar to the assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo. 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.

Hours after China blocked attempt to blacklist Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist”, a US diplomat at the United Nations Security Council warned that members “may be forced to pursue other actions”. Washington’s diplomat said Beijing “should not protect terrorists from Pakistan or any other country” if it is serious about combatting terrorism.

India, too, conveyed its disappointment after the Chinese move and vowed to continue to pursue “all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are punished.

The Ministry of External Affairs asserted through a statement “We are disappointed by this outcome. This has prevented action by the international community to designate the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a proscribed and active terrorist organization which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February 2019. We are grateful for the efforts of the Member States who moved the designation proposal and the unprecedented number of all other Security Council members as well as non-members who joined as co-sponsors.
We will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice.”

New Delhi also thanked “all countries who supported the bid to designate Azhar as global terrorist”.

The proposal against Azhar was initiated by France and backed by the US and the UK. Russia, the other permanent member of the UNSC, also backed the move. Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, Poland, Italy, Japan and Belgium were among the cosponsors of the proposal. Other non-permanent UNSC members also supported the move.

A veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, China had blocked the move by India and other member nations three times earlier. The last time China blocked the move was in April 2016, months after the Jaish attack on the Pathankot air base. Registering a strong protest at the time, India said saying such a move, made only on “technical grounds,” was “incomprehensible

China, a permanent the United Nations Security Council and Pakistan’s “all-weather” ally, blocked previous attempts in 2009, 2016 and 2017.
Ahead of the UNSC decision, the Trump administration had said that Azhar meets the criteria for designation by the United Nations.

“Our views on Jaish-e-Mohammad and its founder are well known. JeM is a UN-designated terrorist group,” State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters.

Why China continues to shelter Pakistan

Although India is firmly siding with Japan, Australia, and the US in the Pacific ocean apart from countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines who are at receiving end from China due to territorial disputes, are also siding with India, so China is doing what it can to side with his only ally in the region i.e. Pakistan.

China needs the support of locals in Pakistan to carry on with ‘One Belt, One Road ‘ policy. The country has invested about $62 billion in CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) of its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Keeping terrorists like Masood Azhar and others under its protection, China ensures peace at its CPEC project (a quid pro quo).

Terrorists like Masood Azhar and Hafeez Saeed have huge influence among Pakistani. Action against these terrorists would mean a greater loss for Chinese policy in terms of money, policy and relation with Pakistan. And thus, by providing indirect support to terrorist, it can safeguard its investment of 100 billion dollars in Pakistan.

China is trying to fill in in the void in the global market created by the US (under Trump’s protectionist policies) and India continuing growth story might be presumed as a competition by China, so it is trying to get the upper edge and capitalize upon its export-oriented economy.

Moreover, China knows that it is too big to be ignored by India and the world community. It has a tremendously huge trade surplus of $52 billion (2017–18) with India. China is our largest trading partner and we are China’s nth trading partner.

It hardly pays heed to any international treaty or verdict (South China Sea issue). So it sees no problem in going against the rest of P5 members, to keep up its own interests, even if it at the cost of millions of innocent people.

“We may change our friends, but we can never change our neighbours”, the words of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee appears to be truly syncing with India’s situation. Both China and Pakistan have kept an eagle’s eye on India’s growth and development. A stable and peace-loving neighbourhood is all that a country needs. And India lacks both.

The situation once again reminds New Delhi that the country needs to overcome the hurdles created by our neighbours and make a lasting imprint on the world on its own.

 

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