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China dampens India's attempt to tag Masood Azhar as terrorist

Activists carry placards of Masood Azhar during a protest against the attack on an air force base in Pathankot, in Mumbai on January 4. Photograph: (AFP)

PTI Beijing, China Oct 01, 2016, 02.38 PM (IST)

China has vetoed India's application to the UN Security Council to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief a terrorist for the second time. 

The country's six-month 'technical hold' on India's application was to lapse on Monday but has now been extended for another six months. Had China not raised further objection, the resolution designating Azhar as a terrorist would have been passed automatically. 

India blames Azhar's JeM for the attack on an army base in Uri last month that killed 19 soldiers and also for the attack on an air force station in Pathankot in January.

New Delhi had submitted a detailed dossier on Azhar and moved the UNSC 1267 Committee following the attack in Pathankot.

"The technical hold on India's listing application submitted to the 1267 committee in March, 2016 has already been extended. There are still different views on India's listing application. The extended technical hold on it will allow more time for the Committee to deliberate on the matter and for relevant parties to have further consultations" China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told PTI in Beijing.

"The UNSC organises its work as mandated by relevant resolutions of the Security Council. China always maintains that on the listing matter, the 1267 Committee should stick to the main principles of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism, base its judgments on solid evidence and decide upon consensus among the members of the Security Council," he said in a written reply to a question, PTI reported.

On March 31 this year, China was the only member of the 15-member UNSC to freeze India's application seeking ban on Azhar under the Sanctions Committee. Being placed on the 1267 sanctions list would result in assets freeze and travel ban. 

The 14 members supported New Delhi's bid to place the JeM leader and Pathankot attack mastermind on the sanctions list. But China put the application on 'technical hold' at the last minute. 

Besides India, the US, the UK and France had also "co-sponsored" the resolution seeking Azhar's listing as a terrorist.

India had back then criticised the UN sanctions committee for taking a "selective approach" in tackling terrorism and for its failure to designate terrorists. 

It had said that it found it "incomprehensible" that while JeM was listed in the UNSC Committee as far back as 2001 for its terror activities and links with the al-Qaeda, the designation of the group's main leader, financier and motivator as a terrorist has been put on a technical hold.

In June last year, China, a key ally of Pakistan, had blocked India's demand under the Council's anti-terrorism resolutions for taking action against Pakistan for releasing Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zaki-ur-Lakhvi, mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

China's move to extend the technical hold are likely to cast a cloud over the expected meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Goa during the upcoming BRICS Summit on October 15-16. 

The country has also opposed India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

On Saturday, it announced a new hydroelectric project on a tributary of the Brahmaputra that may impact the flow of water into India, raising concerns that may use its control of river water as a leveraging tool over India in its disputes involving Pakistan.

(WION with inputs from PTI)

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