Ties between India and China are set to take a hit after Beijing on Saturday said it has extended the decision to block New Delhi’s appeal to the United Nations to label Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a terrorist.
Beijing’s move to extend the “technical hold” imposed in April comes a day before it was to lapse, giving Azhar – an accused in the Pathankot Indian Air Force base attack in January – another six-month breather.
Earlier this year, China, in collaboration with Pakistan, had blocked India’s bid to ban Azhar.
Reports then said 14 out of 15 countries were willing to designate Azhar but China, with its veto powers, took the decision to block the move.
Beijing’s decision – in the backdrop of the attack in Uri less than two weeks ago – brings into focus its stand on terrorism, on which, it has repeatedly said the West has “double standards”.
Though Beijing argued on Saturday – as before in April – that its decision was based on facts and procedures, the latest decision brings into focus the close ties between China and Pakistan, who consider each other “all-weather allies”.
It is also telling that the decision comes within days of the first ever counter-terrorism and security meet between China and India held in Beijing.
Late on Saturday night, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) shared the statement on extending the technical hold with the Hindustan Times.
“The technical hold on India’s listing application submitted to the 1267 committee in March, 2016 has already been extended,” the English translation of the response said, using the formal procedural protocol terms under which New Delhi appealed for Azhar to be designated a terrorist.
The MFA said China maintains that countries have to be objective when matters to be decided by the 1267 committee come up.
“The 1267 committee of the UN Security Council organises its work as mandated by relevant resolutions of the Security Council,” the MFA said.
“China always maintains that on the listing matter, the 1267 committee should stick to the principles of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism, base its judgements on solid evidence and decide upon consensus among the members of the Security Council,” it said.
The Chinese government argued that differences of opinion remained on India’s appeal against Azhar.
“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,” the MFA said.
This decision coupled with China’s role in blocking India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) bid earlier this year will continue to hamper bilateral ties.
It could also cast a shadow on the BRICS summit to be held in Goa later this month where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping will meet.