India is piling pressure on China in multi-lateral forums to relax its objection to put Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group chief Maulana Masood Azhar on the United Nations sanctions list.
Beijing is consistently opposing a resolution to blacklist Azhar, the Indian delegation said at a May 18 meeting of the counter-terrorism working group of the five-nation BRICS bloc.
BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
India contended that the move on Pakistan-based Azhar enjoys support from all the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, except China.
The JeM chief is accused of terrorist strikes in India, the most recent being the attack on the airbase in Pathankot in January last year and the Uri army camp last September.
India wants him on the UN sanctions list, which attracts measures such as assets freeze and travel ban. These steps are intended to cripple a designated terrorist’s ability to carry out attacks.
But China remained a steadfast holdout because of its proximity to Pakistan.
Sources said Chinese officials at the BRICS counter-terrorism meeting called Azhar a “bilateral issue” and, therefore, should be kept away from multi-lateral forums.
When the Indian delegation persisted, the Chinese said Beijing has put a “technical hold” on the matter.
External affairs ministry joint secretary Mahaveer Singhvi led the Indian delegation.
China blocked a US proposal in support of India’s application to put Azhar on a UN list of designated terrorists. It was one of the Barack Obama administration’s last actions in January before President Donald Trump took over.
The proposal was finalised after consultations between Washington and New Delhi, and moved a day before Trump took oath. It was co-sponsored by Britain and France “as a fresh counter-terrorism effort, a part of a global move”, officials said.
But the Chinese show of solidarity to “iron brother” Pakistan stymied the efforts.