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China once again stands between Delhi, terror chief Masood Azhar

nationpaper Updated: Oct 02, 2016 07:11 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis

BEIJING: Ties between India and China are set to take a hit after Beijing said on Saturday that 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 of 15 countries were willing to designate him a terrorist but China, with its veto powers, took the decision to block the move.

Beijing’s decision — also 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 that 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 with HT on extending the technical hold.

“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 being designated a terrorist.

The MFA said China maintains that countries have to be objective when matters, which are 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.

It added: “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.”