China will not back India bid to sanction JeM

China will not back India bid to sanction JeM

Demonstrators step on the posters of Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad which claimed attack on a bus that killed 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in south Kashmir on Thursday, during a protest in Mumbai, India on Friday. (REUTERS)

China on Friday condemned the Jaish-e-Mohammed's attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, but refrained from committing support to India's bid to bring the outfit's leader Masood Azhar under United Nation's sanctions.

Notwithstanding New Delhi's more-than-a-year-long détente with Beijing; China declined to change its long-standing policy of shielding anti-India terrorists based in Pakistan from international sanctions.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had a meeting with China's ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui, on Friday and conveyed to him that New Delhi had clinching evidence to prove that the suicide attack on the CRPF personnel at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir had been carried out by the JeM — an anti-India terror outfit based in Pakistan.

Gokhale also told Luo that Islamabad had given “full freedom” to Masood Azhar to operate and expand the JeM's terror infrastructure in Pakistan.

Beijing, however, reiterated its old stand on the move to impose international sanctions on Azhar and declined to commit support to any fresh move by New Delhi or any other nations against him at the United Nations Security Council.

However, in a letter to his counterpart External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, condemned the suicide attack, expressed deep sympathy to families of the victims and stressed that Chinese Government resolutely opposed all forms of terrorism.

“We firmly oppose and strongly condemn all forms of terrorism,” Geng Shuang, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chinese Government, told journalists in Beijing. “We hope relevant regional countries will cooperate to cope with the threat of terrorism and jointly uphold regional peace and stability”.

He, however, made it clear that China would not change its policy on anti-India terrorists based in Pakistan.

New Delhi has been trying to get JeM chief Masood Azhar designated as an international terrorist by the United Nations. All individuals and entities listed by the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al Qaida Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council are subjected to international sanctions, including travel restrictions and measures curbing financial transactions. China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has been persistently blocking the process to designate him as a terrorist linked to global terror networks of the Al Qaeda, Islamic State and others.

“As for the issue of listing, I could tell you that the 1267 Committee of Security Council has a clear stipulation on the listing and procedure of the terrorist organisations,” Geng said, reiterating Chinese Government's old stand on the issue. “(The) JeM has been included in the Security Council terrorism sanctions list. China will continue to handle the relevant sanctions issue in a constructive and responsible manner.”

India and China had a series of engagements throughout 2018 seeking to mend the bilateral ties, which had hit a new low over the 72-day-long military face-off at Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan in June-August 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had an “informal summit” at Wuhan in central China on April 27 and 28 last year. The “informal summit” resulted in a thaw in bilateral relations. They also had three other meeting on the sideline of multilateral events after the “informal summit” in Wuhan. During their last meeting on the sideline of the G20 summit at Buenos Aires, Modi and Xi had noted that 2018 had been a good year for India-China relations and hoped that 2019 would be even better.

Notwithstanding the bonhomie between Modi and Xi, China on Friday made it clear that it would not change its policy of shielding Pakistan-based anti-India terrorists from international sanctions.