India Awaits China's Stand On Masood Azhar Ahead Of UN Meeting
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar will stand banned after 3 pm on March 13 (12:30 am, March 14, in India) if no objections are raised by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNCS) at the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee. Three UNSC permanent members, the US, the UK and France have once again proposed to designate JeM chief as a global terrorist. This is the fourth instance that a proposal has been moved against Azhar in the United Nations since the Pathankot Attack in 2016.
The most recent efforts by India to designate Azhar has a global terrorist began after the Pathankot attack in 2016. However, on the behest of Pakistan, China placed a “technical hold” on the process in March and October of 2016. Finally, a day before the technical hold ended China used its veto power to block the proposal in December 2016. In January 2017, China once again placed a technical hold on the proposal which was moved by the UK, USA and France.
Thereby quashing India’s bid to brand Azhar a global terrorist.
Enough evidence against Azhar
On the eve of a decision on Masood Azhar at UNSC, the Trump government has made it clear that there is enough evidence against Azhar to brand him as a global terrorist. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said, “Azhar is the founder and the leader of the JeM, and he meets the criteria for designation by the United Nations.”
US National Security Advisor John Bolton tweeted, “Spoke with Pakistani FM Qureshi to encourage meaningful steps against JeM and other terrorist groups operating from Pakistan. The FM assured me that Pakistan would deal firmly with all terrorists and will continue steps to deescalate tensions with India.”
However, China sounded reluctant as Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told the media, “ First I would like to say that the UNSC as a main body of the UN has strict standards and rules of procedures. Some reports have knowledge of inside information the UNSC. I don’t know that can be counted as an evidence.”
Dossier shared with UN and Pakistan
India on February 26 had sent a dossier to Pakistan with specific details pertaining to JeM’s role in the dastardly Pulwama attacks. The dossier was reportedly handed over to the Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan.
India Today reported that India has also provided evidence to the United Nations in the form of audio tapes that link Azhar to JeM. In the dossier that has been submitted to the UNSC, Azhar can be heard talking as the JeM chief.
Pakistan China Nexus
In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, Moneycontrol quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry Geng Shuang as saying, “We firmly oppose and strongly condemn all forms of terrorism. We hope relevant regional countries will cooperate to cope with the threat of terrorism and jointly uphold regional peace and stability.”
However, China is the only Security Council permanent member which remains non-committal towards branding Azhar as a global terrorist. China continues to support Pakistan and block India’s bid to designate Azhar as a global terrorist. In 2001, the UN designated JeM as an organisation that is associated with Osama bin Laden. India, for a long time now, has pointed to the Security Council that while JeM is under UN sanctions, its founder has been left scot-free.
Chinese veto in the United Nations is only a manifestation of the growing relationship between the two. China has been systematically providing diplomatic support, economic investment and arms to Pakistan. China has even played a crucial role in developing Pakistan’s nuclear programme. The construction of the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has further strengthened the ties between the two nations.
How does Veto work?
The Veto power is entrusted upon the five permanent members of the UNSC (the UK, US, France, Russia and China). This is one of the most important differences between a permanent and a non-permanent member of the United Nations. This gives China the power to quash the resolution.
The decision on March 13 is of particular significance owing to mounting pressure from countries like the US and UK. While China has also condemned the Pulwama attack, it remains to be seen if China will walk the talk and support India in its fight against global terrorism.