India Protests China’s Move to Block U.S.-Led Ban on Terror Group Chief

Indian activists carry placards of the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Maulana Masood Azhar during a protest against the attack on the air force base in Pathankot, in Mumbai on January 4, 2016. Indian troops backed by helicopters searched an air force base January 4, after a weekend of fierce fighting with …

India has denounced China’s decision to continue blocking U.S.-led efforts to blacklist the leader of the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM).

“It is our understanding that this was a classic counterterrorism proposal meant to proscribe a dreaded terrorist leader Masood Azhar whose organization the Jaish-e-Muhammed has already been proscribed by the UN 1267 Committee,” declared Vikas Swarup, a spokesperson for India’s ministry of external affairs (MEA), according to Times of India. “We don’t view this as a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan but as an issue of global counter-terrorism. We hope that, eventually, China will also come around to accepting this view.”

“The American proposal had come just weeks after India’s efforts to get Azhar designated as a global terrorist by the UN were blocked by China in December,” notes Dawn.

Blacklisting the JEM leader would freeze his assets and impose and travel ban on him to several countries including Pakistan.

Azhar is also one of JEM’s founders.

“The group’s aim is to annex Indian-administered Kashmir to Pakistan and expel international forces from Afghanistan,” the U.S. State Department has reported. “JEM has openly declared war against the United States.”

The United States has officially designated the group a foreign terrorist organization.

India, China, and Pakistan have competing claims to the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir, home to several deadly clashes between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan last year.

On January 19, all members of the 15-nation U.N. Security Council, except China, joined the United States in pushing to blacklist JEM leader Azhar.

Nevertheless, China claimed that a lack of consensus led to the failure of the U.S.-led effort.

Although China is the only country to block the ban, its vote prevented the U.N. from banning the terrorist group leader.

“The US, supported by the United Kingdom and France, moved a proposal at the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee to blacklist the JeM chief in what was seen as a show of solidarity with India,” reports Dawn.

“China’s ‘hold’ remains for six months and can be extended by three months,” it adds. “During that period, it can be converted into a ‘block,’ thereby ending the life of the proposal.”

India’s Swarup dismissed China’s suggestion that India and Pakistan should discuss the issue.

Pakistan “has stood in the way of a peaceful bilateral dialogue” with India, said the ministry spokesperson. “It is high time Pakistan gets the diagnosis of the problem right. It should not remain in denial on the impact of cross-border terrorism on the bilateral relationship. Both the problem and its solution are within Pakistan’s reach.”

Indian and Pakistani forces clashed several times last year at and around their mutual border in Kashmir resulting in casualties on both sides.

China, the world’s third-largest arms supplier, provides more weapons to Pakistan than any other country and helps to build and maintain the Muslim-majority country’s nuclear reactors.

Beijing has remained in the shadows of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India.

However, Indian media outlets in October 2016 accused anti-India jihadists linked to JEM and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) of waving Chinese and Pakistani flags during demonstrations on the Indian-held portion of Kashmir.

The United States has also deemed the Kashmir-based LET a terrorist group.

In a report to Congress last year, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission noted that the “threat of extremism and terrorism facing China” is growing.

Islamic terrorist activities, primarily stemming from Pakistan and to a lesser extent Afghanistan, “have become more frequent and high profile” in China, adds the report.

Nevertheless, China continues to provide military and economic support to Pakistan.

The State Department has linked JEM to the death of Americans.