India lodges protest with China for blocking US-led ban on Jaish chief Masood Azhar

India has lodged a protest against China’s blocking of a US-led move to designate Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist at the United Nations,Times of India reported.

India issued a demarche to China protesting its hold on the US move to blacklist Azhar at the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee.

The demarches were handed over by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, and by the Indian embassy in Beijing to the Chinese Foreign Office.

Indian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup responded to the Chinese stand that a lack of consensus led to failure of the US move saying: “If there is a change in the Chinese position, there will be consensus as well.”

He said India does not agree with the idea that Pakistan and India should have a bilateral dialogue on the issue of Azhar.

“It is our understanding that this was a classic counter-terrorism proposal meant to proscribe a dreaded terrorist leader Masood Azhar whose organisation the Jaish-e-Muhammad has already been proscribed by the UN 1267 Committee. We don’t view this as a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan but as an issue of global counter terrorism.”

The Indian Express earlier said China had repeatedly thwarted Delhi’s attempts to shore up support for its stand, while dismissing India’s criticism and saying it had adopted a “just, objective and professional” attitude in deciding the issue.

The Indian Express had said that China was the only country in the 15-member 1267 counter-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council which had objected to India’s application to list Azhar as a terrorist.

When India pointed out that China was the only member in the committee to have objected to the ban, China said that “relevant attitude and action of China comply with the resolution of the UNSC and rules of procedure of the committee”.

India has accused JeM and its leader of masterminding several attacks, including the assault on the Pathankot air base in Jan 2016, and has been trying to get Azhar added to the list following the attack. JeM has already been blacklisted by the 15-nation Security Council, but not Azhar.

The US, supported by the United Kingdom and France, moved a proposal at the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee to blacklist the JeM chief in what was seen as a show of solidarity with India.

The American proposal had come just weeks after India’s efforts to get Azhar designated as a global terrorist by the UN were blocked by China in December.

China’s “hold” remains for six months and can be extended by three months. During that period, it can be converted into a “block”, thereby ending the life of the proposal.

A UN Sanction Committee’s listing would have forced imposition of asset freeze and travel ban on Azhar by countries including Pakistan.

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