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China says no to Global Terrorist tag for Azhar - India disappointed

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday said India was disappointed by China blocking the bid at the United Nations to list Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

"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 February 14, 2019," the MEA said, in a statement.

The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the UK and the US on February 27, days after the Pulwama terror attack carried out by a suicide bomber belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed that led to a flare-up in tensions between India and Pakistan.

The MEA further said, "We are grateful for the efforts of the Member States who moved the designation proposal and the unprecedented number of all other Security Council members as well as non-members who joined as co-sponsors. 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."

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah als tweeted to express his displeasure over the development.

"China places a technical hold on Masood Azhar in the UN again! Pakistan gets its way once again," Abdullah posted on Twitter.

Syed Akbaruddin, India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said he was grateful to the nations that joined India as co-sponsors of the effort.

"Big,Small & Many... 1 big state holds up, again ... 1 small signal @UN against terror. Grateful to the many states - big & small - who in unprecedented numbers, joined as co-sponsors of the effort," Akbaruddin tweeted.

The Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee members had 10 working days to raise any objections to the proposal moved by France, the UK and the US. The no-objection period deadline had to end 3 pm local time (New York) Wednesday (12:30am IST Thursday). But an hour before the deadline, China blocked the move.

China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, and an "all-weather ally" of Pakistan, has blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee in 2009 and 2016. In 2017, Beijing also blocked a move by the US, the UK and France to designate Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

In the wake of the terror attack in Pulwama, India had launched a major diplomatic offensive against Islamabad, holding briefing for envoys of 25 countries, including from the five permanent UNSC members -- the US, China, Russia, the UK and France -- to highlight Pakistan's role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

India also handed over to Pakistan a dossier on "specific details" of involvement of the JeM in the Pulwama terror attack.

Days before the March 13 deadline on Azhar's possible listing, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale met Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi said in a statement that Pompeo expressed his "understanding" of India's concerns on cross-border terrorism.

"They agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory. They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable," the MEA said.

On Wednesday, the US said Azhar meets the criteria to brand him as a "global terrorist" by the UN and China's opposition to the move to "update" the designation list went against the interests of Washington and Beijing in achieving regional stability and peace.

"The United States and China share a mutual interest in achieving regional stability and peace, and that a failure to designate Azhar would run counter to this goal," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said in response to a question on previous successful attempts by China to block the UN designation of Azhar.

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