Hours before United Nations listing, China hints it may block Azhar ban again

Calls for boycott and hiking tariffs on Chinese goods not a solution

The Lashkar-e-Tayyaba chief, Hafiz Saeed, and his deputy, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi were both placed on the lost after the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. However, on all occasions China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee.

Asked to clarify whether the issue has been listed for discussion for March 13 and China is in talks with all the parties concerned, Lu said, "First I want to clarify that I don't recall saying anything about the deadline about the UNSC committee and other United Nations subsidiary bodies".

"We are disappointed by this outcome".

India has been working the diplomatic channels at the United Nations, with the proposal to collar Azhar whose group JeM has claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack that killed 40 Indian security personnel initiated by France, the UK and the US.

Over the last 10 years, China has single-handedly blocked Azhar's listing as a "global terrorist" at the UNSC committee. "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", the MEA statement asserted.

Earlier on Thursday, China blocked the latest worldwide move to designate Azhar - whose group JeM claimed responsibility for the deadly Pulwama attack in February - as a global terrorist at the UNSC, allowing a major bilateral irritant with India to fester.

In 2016, India's statement on the Chinese decision was scathing. In an unusually tough message, the diplomat said Beijing "should not protect terrorists from Pakistan or any other country" if it is serious about combatting terrorism.

In 2017 too, India indirectly identified China as the UNSC member responsible for blocking the consensus on listing Azhar.

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After the Pulwama suicide car-bombing by the JeM that killed more than 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers on February 14, France is spearheading a renewed effort with British and the United States backing to put sanctions on Azhar.

Also Read | Will UNSC listed Masood Azhar?

Under the arms embargo, all states are required to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale and transfer from their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related material of all types, spare parts, and technical advice, assistance, or training related to military activities, to designated individuals and entities.

An inkling of China's stand on the issue came during Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's press conferences on Monday and Wednesday in Beijing when he was asked about the proposal to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UNSC.

"China will continue to uphold a responsible attitude and deal with this issue with relevant parties via thorough consultation".

On February 26, India staged an air raid on a camp inside Pakistan that it said belonged to JeM. She had said at the trilateral meeting with Russian and Chinese foreign ministers that Pakistan's inaction on JeM had triggered the airstrikes.

Not the least would have been to ensure that Pakistan isn't isolated in the worldwide community - "iron brother" Beijing stands by Islamabad through the thick of global pressure to act on the JeM and Azhar.

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