China has done it again. On February 2, it blocked a US proposal to get Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar listed on a UN list of designated terrorists.
India blames Azhar for masterminding last year’s attacks on the Pathankot airbase and an Indian Army camp in Uri in September that left 19 soldiers dead.
The proposal was moved by the Obama administration on January 19 and backed by the UK and France but in a show of solidarity with its “all-weather friend” Pakistan, China put a “technical hold” on it.
Here is what India can do to get Azhar on the UN list:
How long is the technical hold?
The “technical hold” is for six months. China is the only country among the UN’s 15-member security council to hold out on Resolution 1267, which allows for freezing assets and ban travel for those on the list. During the period, India can furnish more details in support of its demand for sanctions against Azhar.
Can China extend the technical hold?
Yes, for another three months. At the end of the nine-month period from February 2, China has to make up its mind if it wants to veto the proposal.
Though the hold is “technical” but for all practical purposes, it is political in nature. China appreciating India’s concerns over the Jaish chief is the best case scenario but the most unlikely.
India had in February 2016 requested the UN to add Azhar to the sanctions list and had the support of all committee members but one. China put a hold on the plan in April, extended it in October and blocked the proposal in December.
Why the rush for ban and what does it mean?
The push is a part of India’s effort to draw world’s attention to the threat posed by terror groups based in Pakistan. New Delhi blames Azhar, who was freed by India in exchange for passengers of a hijacked Indian Airlines plane in December 1999, for several militant attacks.
Individuals and entities brought on the sanctions list face asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo — measures aimed at crippling their capacity to strike.