China extends technical hold on Azhar's UN terror listing

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Beijing, Oct 1: China said on Saturday that its technical hold on India's move to get Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar designated a terrorist by the United Nations had been extended by six months, days before its expiry.

The Chinese technical hold was set to lapse on Monday, and had China not raised further objection, the resolution designating Azhar as a terrorist could stand passed automatically.

China blocks India's move

"The technical hold on India's listing application submitted to the 1267 committee in March, 2016 has already been extended," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

"There are still different views on India's listing application. The extended technical hold on it will allow more time for the Committee to deliberate on the matter and for relevant parties to have further consultations," Geng said.

On March 31 this year, China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, had blocked India's move to put a ban on the JeM leader, the person who is suspected to have plotted the attack on a military installation in Pathankot in January, under the Sanctions Committee of the Council.

Read More: Will China block India's move against Maulana Masood Azhar again?

China was the only member in the 15-nation UN organ to put on hold India's application while 14 members other members of the Council supported it. India wants Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list, which would mean assets' freeze and travel ban on the militant.

Geng said the 1267 Committee of the UNSC "organises its work as mandated by relevant resolutions of the Security Council."

"China always maintains that on the listing matter, the 1267 Committee should stick to the main principles of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism, base its judgments on solid evidence and decide upon consensus among the members of the Security Council," he said in a written reply to a question.

After the decision, the hold now has been extended in the midst of India-Pakistan tension over the Uri terrorist attack, which was blamed on the JeM group.

China's technical hold coupled with its move to block India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) cast a shadow on the Sino-India ties. Both the countries have held several rounds of talks on the issues in recent months.

China's move to extend the technical hold comes ahead of the expected meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Goa during the BRICS Summit on October 15-16.

In June last year, China had blocked India's demand for taking action under the Council's anti-terrorism resolutions against Pakistan for releasing Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zaki-ur-Lakhvi - the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Sources have previously said India is not alone in its bid to get Azhar listed as terrorist as the US, the UK and France had "co-sponsored" the resolution seeking Azhar's listing.

India has repeatedly criticised the UN Sanctions Committee for its failure to designate terrorists for proscribing terrorist groups but not those heading them.

India accused UN sanctions committee for taking a "selective approach" in tackling terrorism when its application was put on hold.

PTI

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