With terror attacks rising across the world, China has got isolated at the United Nations in its bid to stall India’s move to get Jaish-e-Mohammed leader and Pathankot mastermind Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist. It has been over four months that China placed a technical hold on India’s application to bring Masood Azhar under the counter-terror UNSC resolution 1267, but China’s move has not found any takers. Despite trying for months it has not been able to get any support from any of the other 14 members of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, which “bans” “individuals or entity associated with Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and/or the Taliban as designated by the Committee”.
Highly placed sources have told The Sunday Guardian that “time is running out for China, as the ‘hold’ is a temporary measure and has to be converted to a ‘block’ within six months, as else the move would lapse and India’s resolution against Azhar would stand passed automatically.”
Of the 15 members of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, only China had a problem regarding India’s submission to list Azhar as a terrorist. The Sunday Guardian has learnt that China objected to the reference of “Pak State” in India’s submission to the Sanctions Committee.
India’s resolution against Masood Azhar was backed with evidence on the Pathankot attack, on the involvement of Pakistan and with the argument that if Jaish-e-Mohammad was a designated terror organisation then its leader could not be off the list.
While China did not explicitly ask for the removal of the reference to Pakistan in India’s submission, it raised issues regarding the reference itself. India has not removed the reference because China is not negotiating and the other 14 members do not have any problems with the reference to “Pak State”.
To get Azhar listed, India has welcomed negotiations with all the stakeholders including China. A source says, “India is willing to discuss all elements of the listing proposal with China on the issue of Azhar. Both states need to approach this in a mature manner and sit down and address each other’s concerns across the table.” But an unwilling China does not want to talk. Instead, China is insisting that India and Pakistan resolve the matter bilaterally. A senior official told The Sunday Guardian, “China insists that this be solved bilaterally, but the issue is if Pakistan had addressed it bilaterally why would there have been the need to go to the 1267 Committee in the first place?”
India has sent out signals that it is willing to negotiate including on the so called references to the involvement of “Pak State”, but China has not come to the talking table.
The six-month period that began in April will lapse if China does not move and block India’s application. But today, with increasing terror attacks, it has become increasingly difficult for China to convince the international community on supporting China’s move against India. So if China converts the technical hold to a block, it will be seen as moving away from the growing international mainstream against support for any form of terrorism.
While the 1267 Sanctions Committee is a group that works on consensus and even one member can get a resolution dropped, China does not want to go alone on a resolution that has support from the rest of the P5, where it has been co-sponsored by US, UK, France and India’s submission agreed on by Russia.
India moved the UNSC to force Pakistan to take action against the Pathankot attack mastermind but the functioning of the committee itself has drawn a lot of criticism.
A senior official said, “The committee functions in secrecy and the monitoring group plays games. They put holds but give no reason. The global counter terrorism strategy of the UN gets undermined if key building blocks of UN’s global counter strategy work in this partisan and politicised manner.”
While India is pushing for UNSC reforms, it has to get major resolutions passed by working within the system and in that India has been negotiating hard to ensure no support for Pakistan and China’s endeavours to block India’s moves.