India exerting diplomatic pressure to ban Masood Azhar: Govt

New Delhi, May 4: With China blocking India's bid at the United Nations to proscribe Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, government on Wednesday said it is exerting diplomatic pressure to remove the "technical hold" and get a ban imposed on him.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh told the Lok Sabha that India has also told China that there cannot be selective approach when it comes to terrorism.

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Last month, China had blocked India's bid at the UN to ban Azhar, the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief and mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack. During Question Hour, Singh said the move to ban Azhar is on "technical hold" at the UN.

"Hum zor dal rahe hai (we are putting pressure)" through diplomatic channels to ensure that it is done away with, he noted. China is among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and has veto powers.

The others are France, Russian Federation, the UK, and the US. The UN had banned the JeM but India's efforts for a ban on Azhar after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack also did not fructify as China did not allow the ban.

On reforms at the UN, Singh said the expansion in both permanent and non-permanent category of its membership would be an essential element of the reforms at the UNSC.

Referring to the four permanent member countries, Singh said "hamari baat ko samarthan karte hain (they support our demand for reforms)." On China, he said the country understands India's position and is of the view that India should have the opportunity to do good work at the UN.

"We are seeking enough support" for UNSC membership and leaders of the country who visit overseas raise this issue, Singh said and noted that reforms in the UN is a long process.

In a written reply, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said a large number of countries have supported India's initiatives for reform of the Security Council, as well as endorsed India's candidature for permanent membership.

"This has been expressed in various forms and fora including in bilateral discussions with the Government of India," she said.


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