India to push China on sanctioning JeM chief Masood Azhar

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 22, 2016 07:47 IST
National security adviser Ajit Doval with Chinese premier Li Keqiang after the 19th round of boundary talks in Beijing on Thursday. (PTI Photo)

New York

India has lined up half a dozen or more applications for the UN Security Council committee which sanctions terrorists that will test China’s resolve to stand in the way as it has in the case of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.

India plans to begin moving the applications one by one if efforts currently under way to ascertain Chinese objections to the Azhar designation, in order to deal with them, fail.

“They can’t keep putting a hold on every application that we move,” said a source. “It will make them look terrible on terrorism, and may even portray them as supporting it.”

No details are available about these applications – which are about other individuals and groups and which India would have moved at some stage any way – and when they will be taken up.

Late last month, China put a technical hold on India’s application to sanction Azhar before the UN Security Council committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011), and 2253 (2015) concerning the Islamic State, al Qaeda and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities.

The panel designates terrorists with links to al Qaeda and the IS.

India had expected this to be uncomplicated and easy given the recent attack by JeM, which is headed by Azhar, on Pathankot airbase that killed seven security personnel.

The designation would have enjoined UN members to freeze all assets owned by Azhar, refuse him entry or exit and not supply to him any arms and weapons.

JeM itself was designated in 2001 and several operatives and organisations associated with the group have been on the UN’s blacklist, leaving no one in doubt about its activities.

China put a hold at the last minute. It has by way of explanation, in the words of its ambassador in Delhi. “We felt that the information provided by India to the UN was inadequate, that is why we placed a ‘technical hold’– a temporary measure,” the envoy said.

Beijing has not specified what more it wants to know. Another official of the Chinese embassy in Delhi told a reporter recently India should take it up with Pakistan. JeM is based in Pakistan and enjoys support and patronage from the security establishment.

A source said it was “ridiculous” to suggest India should discuss this with Pakistan. “We have made our case, and successfully, to the 14 members of the 15-member committee and now we go to a 16th country outside the committee?”

But India is not giving up. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Manohar Parrikar raised Azhar with their Chinese counterparts during recent meetings, as did National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

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