NEW DELHI: China has put on hold a joint India-US proposal to sanction a Pakistan based terrorist, Abdul Rauf Asghar, who’s an accused in the 1999 IC 814 hijacking and also Parliament attack. While this is the second time in 2 months that Beijing has sought to delay sanctioning of terrorists operating out of Pakistan, the latest move comes at a time it’s hoping India will support China’s efforts to defend its “sovereignty and security” on the Taiwan issue.
Asghar is also the deputy chief of UN designated terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and brother of Maulana Masood Azhar who heads the same organisation. Beijing had in June also blocked a proposal to designate deputy chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Abdul Rehman Makki, as global terrorist.
Official sources reacted angrily to the development saying China’s actions exposed its “double speak and double standards” on the issue of terrorism and the global community’s shared battle against the menace.
“Such politically motivated actions by China, in nearly every listing case of a Pak-based terrorist, undermine the entire sanctity of the working methods of the UNSC Sanctions Committees,” said a source, adding It was unfortunate that the UNSC sanctions committee had been prevented from playing its role due to “political considerations”. China had on several occasions blocked the listing of Masood Azhar too as global terrorist before finally relenting in 2019 under international pressure.
In Beijing, asked about the decision to put a technical hold on the Abdul proposal, the Chinese foreign ministry said China needed more time to assess the “relevant applications”. India’s permanent representative to UN Ruchira Kamboj had only this week called for ending the practice of placing holds and blocks on listing requests against notorious terrorism without giving any justification, while slamming double standards in the fight against terrorism.
According to sources, there is “incontrovertible” evidence to back the listing proposals for both Makki and Asghar and both individuals have also been sanctioned by the US under its domestic legislation.
Asghar, according to Indian authorities, is involved in the planning and execution of many terrorrist attacks, including the hijacking of Indian Airlines aircraft IC814 (1999), the attack on the Indian Parliament (2001) and also the attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot (2016).
“A proposal was moved by India, co-sponsored by the US, to list Abdul Rauf Asghar in the UN Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee.
China has, however, placed a technical hold on the proposal. All other 14 member states of the UN Security Council were supportive of the listing proposal,” said a source.
Significantly, China’s latest hold on proposed sanctioning of a Pakistan based terrorist comes in the middle of its efforts to enlist support from India on the Taiwan issue. In an interview to ToI last week, Chinese ambassador to India Sun Weidong expressed hope that India will honour the “one-China principle” and support China’s efforts to defend its sovereignty and security.
While India continues to follow a one-China policy, it stopped mentioning the same in bilateral documents in 2010. China is also yet to fully resolve the military standoff with India in eastern Ladakh although troop disengagement is said to have been completed at many friction points.