(Photo: AP)While New Delhi has reason to be disappointed at Beijingâs fourth technical hold on the proposal to list Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the UN, its diplomatic gains are not to be underestimated.
Top officials explained that few were expecting China to change its stand given how it views Pakistan as a âstrategic weapon.â
While questions are being raised over the relevance of the Wuhan spirit in a diplomatic situation like this, the fact is this time Delhi was able to rally an unprecedented international consensus in favour of blacklisting Azhar.
For the first time since 2009, when India first tried to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist under the UNSC Resolution 1267 sanctions committee, India got 13 co-sponsors for the proposal.
These include seven members of the UN Security Council â the three permanent members US, UK and France; and four non-permanent members Germany, Poland, Belgium and Equatorial Guinea.
Among UN members who are not in Security Council but who co-sponsored the proposal were six countries: Japan, Australia, Italy, Bangladesh, Maldives and Bhutan.
What is significant is that the Quad members â US, Japan and Australia â co-sponsored the proposal in a sign of strategic alignment on the issue of terrorism.
Sources told The Indian Express that this was âone of the key takeaways from this 2019 proposalâ with this impressive number of co-sponsors.
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This was incremental in nature since it was only in 2017 that India asked P-3 countries, US, UK and France to move the proposal. In 2016 and 2009, it was India which had moved the proposal.
âThe idea is to the convey to the world that it is not just India which is asking for the listing but itâs the global communityâs chorus. That chorus has got louder this time,â a source said.
Indiaâs Permanent Representative at the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted: âBig, Small & ManyâĻ1 big state holds up, again âĻ1 small signal @UN against terror. Grateful to the many states â big & small â who in unprecedented numbers, joined as co-sponsors of the effort.â
The MEA acknowledged this: âWe are grateful for the efforts of the Member States who moved the designation proposal and the unprecedented number of all other Security Council members as well as non-members who joined as co-sponsors.â
Thatâs not all. Last month, a week after the February 14 Pulwama attack, China had signed off on a UNSC statement that âcondemned in the strongest termsâ the terror attack and, in fact, named Pak-based Jaish-e-Mohammad for the âheinous and cowardly suicide bombingâ.
Sources pointed out that this statement naming JeM is significant because China, at Pakistanâs behest, has thrice blocked the listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a âglobal terroristâ â in 2009, 2016 and 2017.
While Delhi is disappointed, it has also been able to mount pressure on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which has asked Pakistan to take concrete action against terrorist financing or face a âblacklisâ.
Sources said the need for Pakistan to take âconcrete, credible, visible and verifiable actionâ remains top on Delhiâs agenda. Chinaâs technical hold does not detract from that. The next challenge will be to keep Pakistan in the greylist, later this year, in May, when China will play a key role at the FATF.