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To Name China or Not: The Changing Tides of Indian Response to Beijing's Block on Masood Azhar

To Name China or Not: The Changing Tides of Indian Response to Beijing's Block on Masood Azhar

After China on Wednesday once again blocked an initiative to tag Jaish-e Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar as a "global terrorist" by the United Nations Security Council, India said it was “disappointed” by this outcome.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday night, India without referring to China directly, said that a “member” has placed the proposal on hold. "The 1267 Sanctions Committee, upon completion of the no-objection period on 13 March 2019, wasn't able to come to a decision on the proposal for listing Mohammed Masood Azhar under the UN Sanctions regime, on account of a member placing the proposal on hold.”

Beijing's move on Wednesday came as the Security Council was to take up a resolution on the matter, days after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

"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," the ministry added.

Syed Akbaruddin, India's permanent representative at the United Nations, too, expressed his disappointment and gratitude towards China and rest of the nations, respectively, in equal measures.
Without directly naming China, he took to twitter and wrote, "1 big state holds up, again ...1 small signal @UN against terror. Grateful to the many states - big & small - who in unprecedented numbers, joined as co-sponsors of the effort."

This is not the first time that China has put a technical hold on Azhar’s listing and neither is this the first time that India has expressed displeasure over China’s staunch stand on the issue. There has, however, been a stark shift in the Indian character of diplomacy and the words in which India expressed its disappointment over the years.

In 2016, India had revved up its efforts to get Azhar listed, but hit a roadblock because of China’s veto-yielding ambit. India did respond at that time, saying that it noted “with concern” China’s decision to block the proposal to list Azhar. It is important to note that at that time, the foreign ministry statement did categorically name China in its statement.

“We had expected China would have been more understanding of the danger posed to all by terrorism and would join India and others in fighting the common challenge of terrorism,” the 2016 statement said, adding that India was surprised with China’s decision.

A year later, a similar proposal was made by India only to be blocked again by China. However, this time, India made a conscious effort to not name China. “We are deeply disappointed that once again, a single country has blocked international consensus on the designation of an acknowledged terrorist and leader of UN-designated terrorist organization, Masood Azhar,” the 2017 statement read.

However, without naming anybody, India went on to add that it could “only hope that there will be a realization that accommodating terrorism for narrow objectives is both short-sighted and counter-productive.”

Now, in 2019 once again, India has refused to name China directly.

2017 was a tense year for India-China relations which were considerably severed after the Doklam standoff in June that went on for two months till August. Ever since, there have been consistent efforts to strengthen ties between the two nations, but nothing concrete has been achieved.

Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping met four times last year. In fact, after the Wuhan Summit, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale had said that terrorism was discussed on a “general level” and that there was “continuing discussion between both countries on how to collaborate in this area.”

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