The Big Picture: Bid to Blacklist Masood Azhar The United States circulated a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that would blacklist JeM chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist, setting up a potential clash with China over the move. China earlier this month put on hold a request to put Masood Azhar on the UN sanctions list. That request stalled in a UN sanctions committee, prompting the U.S. to turn directly to the Security Council with the proposed resolution blacklisting Azhar. Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops and stoked tensions between India and Pakistan. The draft resolution obtained by media organization AFP condemns the suicide bombing and decides that Azhar will be added to the UN Al-Qaeda and Islamic State sanctions blacklist. It remained unclear when a vote would be held on the draft resolution, which could face a veto from China, one of the five permanent council members along with Britain, France, Russia and the United States. There have been four attempts through a UN sanctions committee to add Azhar to the blacklist. China blocked three previous requests and put a technical hold on the latest one, which could last up to nine months. What does the move imply?

  • It implies the exasperation of the international community to not be able to list Masood Azhar.
  • China’s hold on the UNSC resolution to list Masood Azhar by the 1267 committee had clearly shown the China –Pakistan nexus in spite of the resolution being supported by 14 of 15 members of the UNSC.
  • It is a clear message to China that double standards cannot be tolerated in the case of terrorism.
  • It also shows the global solidarity that India enjoys with respect to terrorism.
  • Post the Pulwama attacks India has changed the equation in the South Asian region by demonstrating its capabilities in the event of a terror attack.
  • India had termed the aerial strike in Balakot in Pakistan as “non-military pre-emptive strike”. It put across India’s strong message that India reserves the right to fight against terrorism irrespective of boundaries which were a major shift in its policy.
  • If in future, a terrorist attack takes place, India will have to respond strongly or take one step forward from Balakot to keep up the credibility that it has come out recently with. This in turn may prove for the worse if de-escalations do not take place.
  • So, the move by the US, in a way, shows the support given to India in its fight against terrorism. It is also a pressure on Pakistan that de-escalation should come from Pakistan by dismantling the terror groups in Pakistan which perpetuate terror attacks on India.
  • The statement from the US also mentions about 1 million Uighurs in concentration camps in China which is a gross violation of human rights.
What is the difference between listing by 1267 committee and blacklisting by UNSC?
  • The 1267 committee is otherwise known as the Al-Qaeda committee which lists organisations having a connection to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban which are terror group networks.
  • Listing by the 1267 committee undergoes a closed-door consultation mechanism where the UNSC members stand by or against the resolution.
  • Listing by the UNSC would hold the negotiations in the open where China will have to either veto or vote along openly in front of all UN members.
  • So, the move is a mechanism to put China in a spot or exposing China’s double standards asking it to openly declare its opinion on terrorism.
What are China’s intentions?
  • China considers Pakistan as an all-weather friend.
  • China has a strategic relationship with Pakistan on account of the $60 billion China –Pakistan Economic Corridor which passes through PoK and gives China access to Indian Ocean through Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
  • China also sees Pakistan as a means to neutralize India.
  • Earlier, China never allowed itself to be isolated on any issue in the global arena. But with the ascendancy of Xi Jinping, China has shown its boldness to become isolated in many issues.
  • But, it needs to be seen whether China would do anything to keep up its good image in the global world.
  • A lot would depend on the language used in the UN resolution which may allow China to again showcase its double standards.
US-China relations
  • US and China have been embroiled in a trade war for long which has affected China‘s economy.
  • China and US are engrossed in negotiations where China has accepted many of the terms of the US.
  • But, China has held itself strong to Pakistan in spite of Pakistan being isolated globally.
  • Though there were hopes that China would align with India in the recent listing of the 1267 committee due to India’s growing strength and the global pressure against terrorism, China did not do so.
  • China’s stand in the coming listing would showcase the direction in which the US-China relations would end up in future.
  • The blacklisting of Masood Azhar would freeze his assets and impose a travel ban.
  • Though the blacklisting of Masood Azhar by the UN would not make much of a difference fundamentally, it would demonstrate the countries supporting India in the global world and those who stand by with Pakistan.
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