The NDA government has stepped up efforts to push the United Nations to identify people who use Pakistani territory to target India as ‘terrorists’ and impose sanctions on them, sources said ahead of a meeting between the foreign ministers on Thursday.
The external affairs ministry has urged the ministry of home affairs and the National Investigation Agency to help build a watertight case against Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, with an expert committee examining a proposal to name him in the list.
India approached the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions committee in February to act against Maulana Masood Azhar, who heads the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group that is blamed for an attack on Pathankot airbase, this year.
The siege at the military facility in Punjab’s Pathankot derailed proposed talks between the foreign secretaries, with India making it clear that the possibility of dialogue hinged on Islamabad clamping down on the attack’s perpetrators.
Once they are listed, individuals and organisations will face asset freezing, travel ban, arms embargo and other penalties that would cripple their ability to carry out attacks.
The sanctions list contains the names of 253 individuals and 75 entities and was last updated in February.
Sources say Indian efforts this time are unprecedented, but the task is challenging because the country has never succeeded in getting anyone designated as a terrorist by the UN panel. Last time, China torpedoed its efforts to put Azhar in the sanctions list.
Indian officials said efforts to get 11 individuals and entities named could test other countries’ resolve to have concrete counterterrorism measures, which New Delhi hopes wouldn’t fail.
“If we succeed in some cases, it will have a global significance,” said an official. “Terrorism emanating from the region is not merely an India-Pakistan issue.”
The naming process involves proving how these entities and individuals are associated with UN-proscribed organisations such as al Qaeda, Islamic State and Taliban.
Efforts are on to get “credible and clinching evidence”, sources said. Once the technical aspect is taken care of, India has to get the support of the sanctions committee, where each member nation has a veto.