In what can only be described as a massive diplomatic victory for India, Masood Azhar has been designated as ‘global terrorist’ at UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee list. Commenting on this big diplomatic success, Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Ambassador to the UN said that big, small, all joined together. Now Masood Azhar has been designated as a terrorist in UN Sanctions list.
However, this diplomatic victory was not a cakewalk for India. India had been trying to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist for quite some time now. But however, so far, China was blocking India’s bids. In a sharp turn of events, China has lifted the ‘technical hold’ on the process which paved the way for this designation. This was not only a major diplomatic victory for India but also marked a radical shift in China’s Pakistan policy.
India never actually settled for less, as far as achieving this objective at the UN is concerned. Post the Pulwama terror attack, there was immense diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terrorism emanating from its soil. After China repeatedly blocked India’s attempts at the UN, India negotiated effectively and brought the US and France on board to take up the issue of Masood’s designation as a global terrorist. In fact, the French government had gone on to impose sanctions on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, including a freeze on his assets. This move had come just a day after China blocked a UNSC move to designate Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. The move, therefore, came as a signal that China couldn’t really protect Pakistan for very long and it would have to take a tough stance against the JeM chief, sooner or later.
Another signal of support to India’s pursuit of Azhar at the UN had come even as the US took the public vote route over the issue of listing Azhar as a global terrorist. It was being seen as a massive diplomatic push against Pakistan. In fact, it was for the first time that the 1267 Committee was bypassed. This mounted diplomatic pressure on Pakistan, as it became clear that nations across the globe are taking a tough stand against terrorism. At such a point, siding with Pakistan would have entailed heavy diplomatic costs for China.
The ultimate diplomatic breakthrough came for India after Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s visit to Beijing last week. The major issue discussed was Masood Azhar. India reportedly shared all details of the evidence against Masood Azhar, including his links to the Pulwama terror attack. This led to China finally coming on board for designation of Azhar as an international terrorist. This diplomatic breakthrough has proved India’s standing at a global level. Pakistan is set to pay heavy costs for exporting terrorism to India.