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Masood Azhar: India needs to produce solid evidence, say Chinese experts

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Beijing, March 15: China recently blocked India's yet another bid to list Masood Azhar, leader of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) as a global terrorist - its fourth such move. The JeM claimed responsibility for the suicide terror attack on a CRPF personnel convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama recently that led to soaring tensions between India and Pakistan.

Maulana Masood Azhar

On Thursday, China defended its move of blocking Azhar to be designated a global terrorist, saying it would give time for a "thorough and in-depth assessment" of the case and help the concerned parties to engage in more talks to find a "lasting solution" that is universally accepted.

Masood Azhar ban blocked: Omar Abdullah says Modi surrendered to China

China's state-run Global Times came up with an op-ed on the issue and there in, some experts from the country shared their views and most of them felt India hasn't produced enough evidence against Azhar and that New Delhi was putting pressure on China to support its stand but could not move it.

Liu Zongyi, a senior fellow of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, and distinguished fellow of the China (Kunming) South Asia & Southeast Asia Institute, said the quest to put Azhar in the list of global terrorist has been a long-lasting dispute between Indian and China and that in 2017, New Delhi's demand was partly behind the Doklam standoff.

"If New Delhi succeeds in having both JeM and its leader blacklisted, Islamabad would be branded as a state sponsor of terrorism and isolated on the international stage. This is what India wants to pursue till the end," Liu said.

"China's technical strategy is to question India's definition of terrorism, which lends itself to deep divisions. There is a lack of consensus to proscribe Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council."

The analyst added that the JeM has been included in the terrorism sanctions list of the Security Council and it doesn't target civilians but the Indian security forces.

"India asks for favours but doesn't pay back"

"India is forcing China to support its bid. But China will not yield to pressure," he said, adding that India always small issues to the large canvas of China-India bilateral ties and asks for favours without paying back.

He also said issues like national security and terrorism have become hot ahead of the general elections in India and conceded that China's stance will earn in a lot of backlash in the Indian media but China could not help it.

China sympathetic to Kashmir attack victims but will not change its stand on Azhar

Long Xingchun, non-resident fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, said though Beijing was sympathetic towards the victims of the recent attack in Kashmir, yet it will not change its stance towards Azhar.

"If India cannot offer new evidence, China will not change its position. If China does, it will be a repudiation of its previous stance and leave the impression that it was deliberately blocking India's bid in the past. This will have a much wider impact on China's diplomacy," he said.

After China blocks Azhar's listing, UN diplomats say other action may be pursued

"India's latest bid to list Azhar as a terrorist, to a large extent, is to assuage public concern. The recent Kashmir attack has once again ignited public anger against Pakistan, and the Indian government has realized it should at least make some gestures. Meanwhile, the Indian government can divert public attention in the run-up to the elections toward China."

Zhang Jiadong, director of Center for South Asian Studies, Fudan University, also said that India failed to produce updated evidence and hence China was not changing its stance.

He said the two countries should look at the bigger picture and prevent differences over "concrete issues" coming in the way of bilateral relations or else, it will hurt boths' interests, especially India.

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