Beijing: China on Saturday said its technical hold on India’s move to get Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Chief Masood Azhar designated a terrorist by the United Nations has “been extended”, days before the expiry of the hold.
The Chinese technical hold was set to lapse on Monday, and had China not raised further objection, the resolution designating Azhar as a terrorist could stand passed automatically. The hold has been extended for another six months.
“The technical hold on India’s listing application submitted to the 1267 committee in March, 2016 has already been extended,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
“There are still different views on India’s listing application. The extended technical hold on it will allow more time for the committee to deliberate on the matter and for relevant parties to have further consultations,” Geng said.
On March 31 this year, China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, had blocked India’s move to put a ban on the Jaish-e-Mohammed leader and Pathankot attack mastermind under the sanctions committee of the council.
China was the only member in the 15-nation UN organ to put a hold on India’s application with all other 14 members of the council supporting New Delhi’s bid to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban.
Geng said the 1267 committee of the UNSC “organises its work as mandated by relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”
“China always maintains that on the listing matter, the 1267 committee should stick to the main principles of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism, base its judgments on solid evidence and decide upon consensus among the members of the Security Council,” he said in a written reply to a question.
Following the decision, the hold now has been extended in the midst of India-Pakistan tension over the Uri terror attack, which was blamed on the JeM group.
China’s technical hold coupled with its move to block India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) cast a shadow on the Sino-India ties. Both the countries have held several rounds of talks on the issues in recent months.
China’s move to extend the technical hold comes ahead of the expected meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Goa during the BRICS Summit on October 15-16.
In June last year, China had blocked India’s demand for taking action under the council’s anti-terrorism resolutions against Pakistan for releasing Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zaki-ur-Lakhvi- the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Sources have previously said India is not alone in its bid to get Azhar listed as terrorist as the US, the UK and France had “co-sponsored” the resolution seeking Azhar’s listing.
India has repeatedly slammed the UN Sanctions Committee for its failure to designate terrorists, saying that the terror groups are proscribed entities under the sanctions regime but individuals heading them are not listed.
India has slammed the UN sanctions committee for taking a “selective approach” in tackling terrorism when the technical hold was put on its application to include Azhar’s name on the committee’s list of designated terrorists.
In April, India had said it finds it “incomprehensible” that while the Pakistan-based JeM was listed in the UNSC committee as far back as 2001 for its known terror activities and links to the al-Qaida, the designation of the group’s main leader, financier and motivator has been put on a technical hold.
India had submitted a detailed dossier on Azhar and moved the UNSC 1267 committee following the January 2 attack on an Indian airforce station in Pathankot. In March, India’s submission was considered by the counter-terrorism executive directorate for technical aspects of the evidence provided. The technical team then with the support of the US, the UK and France had sent it to all the members.
All were told that if there were no objections, the designation will be announced after the expiry of the deadline. However, hours before the deadline, China requested the committee to hold up the banning of the JeM chief.
India had said the sanctions committee was taking a “selective approach” in tackling terrorism. India had made a strong call for reform of the “subterranean universe” of the UN Security Council’s sanctions regimes, as it criticised the lack of transparency in their functioning and said that the principles of “anonymity and unanimity” adopted by council members absolve individual members of accountability.