The proposal to designate Azhar as a global terrorist under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UNSC was moved by France, Britain and the US on February 27, but China put a technical hold on the decision for the fourth time.
“The UN Security Council and its subsidiary bodies are run on strict rules… We already stressed China’s position on the listing of terrorist organisations and individuals in the UN Security Council 1267 Committee on many occasions,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang had said earlier this week, adding that “China will continue to adopt responsible attitude and participate in the deliberations in the UNSC 1267 Committee”.
But behind the vague, mealy-mouthed inanities was the hard realism of standing by Pakistan, an ally and a client state which has attracted global opprobrium for hosting many terrorists, many of whom could pose a threat to Chinese economic interests in Pakistan should Beijing agree to lift its objecting to designating them as global terrorists. In effect, China is also seen as buying protection for its own investments in Pakistan even at the risk of global shaming.
India, as expected, expressed dismay at China’s balking, while thanking member states such as the United States, France, Germany, and Britain who have backed New Delhi’s efforts to have Azhar designated as a global terrorist. The Trump administration had tried to press Beijing to back down even hours before the sanctions committee took up the matter on Wednesday afternoon, but China was not moved.
“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,” India’s external affairs ministry said in a statement.
“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,” it added.
Within an hour of the outcome, the hashtags #ChinaBacksTerror and #BoycottChina were trending on Twitter. Calls to boycott Chinese goods have periodically surfaced on social media, and Beijing’s intransigence in backing Pakistani terrorists is expected to further fire up this demand.
India imports about $55 billion worth of goods and products from China.