Analysing China’s ‘Technical’ hold over Azhar’s listing at the UNSC

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The United Nations Security Council’s 1267 which establishes a sanctions committee to designate terrorists and previously had acknowledged Osama Bin Laden as a global terrorist, the same sanctions committee is now used to list Jaish-e- Mohammed’s (JEM) chief Masoor Azhar. The Jihadi terrorist organization which along with Lashkar E Taiba was responsible for the 2001 Indian Parliament Attack and off lately the Pulwama Attack on 14th February 2019. The post-Pulwama Attack which has seen a constant strain on the relation between India and Pakistan is now being globally condemned with certain actions being taken at UN’s most scared organisation, i.e the UNSC.

Read: What does the UNSC Resolution 1267 says?

While reforms in UNSC has been an issue on hold especially with the veto powers and the contestation for permanent membership, China for the fourth time had used its veto power in the last 10 years to stop the Security Council for not listing JEM’s chief Azhar as a global terrorist. The matter of terrorism which haunts almost every nation-state, a matter for which the countries are constantly engaging their defences whilst upgrading their policies in tackling it does need to be prioritized by the permanent members of the UNSC. India has been trying extremely hard to engage in counter-terrorism with the recent lobbying seen at FATF last month, which finally led to Pakistan continuing on the ‘grey list’. However, China’s decision came as a shock to the UNSC, although the other three permanent members namely the United States, United Kingdom and France were all in for the resolution listing Azhar as a global terrorist.

Diplomats later mentioned that China kept it as a ‘technical hold’ against the listing. The other council members have stated their concern over the decision, mentioning that they have warned Beijing to reconsider the matter before other means are pursued. Pakistan has always maintained close ties with China, and even earlier it has used diplomacy wisely to not list Pakistan based terror organisation in the UN 1267 Sanctions committee. The Chinese Foreign Minister Lu Kang remarked that the main intention behind the UN 1267 sanctions committee is to allow time to both the sides to study the matter and engage in dialogue before some ‘actual’ measure. He said, “China conducts thorough and in-depth assessment of these applications and we still need more time, so that is why we put forward the technical hold.”

However, the evidence is not — and never was — an issue. The issue is geopolitics, geo-strategy and geo-economics.

India has strongly expressed its disappointment over China’s decision with a promise of taking all necessary measure which would make Azhar a UN designated global terrorist.

Chinese Foreign Minister Lu Kang stressed the relationship Beijing shares with India with a commitment to work for a progress in bilateral relation.

The veto decision counters the US and China’s shared goal for regional stability and peace. However, India would continue to pursue all possible measures to do combat terrorism.

The Ministry of External Affairs has expressed its disappointment over today’s outcome:

The ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee (1267 Sanctions Committee), upon completion of the no-objection period on 13 March 2019, was not able to come to a decision on the proposal for listing Mohammed Masood Azhar Alvi under the UN Sanctions regime, on account of a member placing the proposal on hold.

We are disappointed by this outcome. This has prevented action by the international community to designate the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a proscribed and active terrorist organization which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February 2019.

We are grateful for the efforts of the Member States who moved the designation proposal and the unprecedented number of all other Security Council members as well as non-members who joined as co-sponsors.

We will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice. 

However, India’s soft reaction — not naming and shaming China for placing a ‘technical hold’ and merely expressing ‘disappointment’ over the bailout given by China to Pakistan and to the terrorist Masood Azhar — is emblematic of the pusillanimity that has allowed China to cock a snook at India.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

Arijita Sinha Roy

Arijita Sinha Roy is an Honourary Research Analyst at The Kootneeti. Being a Political Science Scholar her areas of interest covers different aspects of Diplomacy. She also contributed to many leading publications including Eurasia Review, Modern Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, South Africa Today, Defense Romania. She can be reached at arijitasinharoy@gmail.com

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