New Delhi: Hours after the terrorist attack in Kashmir's Pulwama district, the governments of several countries came out in outright condemnation of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the terror group which has claimed responsibility for the strike that left 40 CRPF personnel dead.
But, it took the China government over a day to join in the condemnation, even as the world waited for their response. The Chinese foreign spokesperson Geng Shuang, finally, on Friday said that it “condemned all forms of terrorism” and that “it hoped relevant regional countries will cooperate to cope with the threat of terrorism and jointly uphold regional peace and stability.”
However, despite calling for global cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts, the Xi Jinping government yet again declined to change their stand on Jaish founder Masood Azhar’s designation as a global terrorist under United Nations Sanctions.
“JeM as an organisation has been included in the sanctions list of the Security Council. As to the listing of an individual, we have always upheld an earnest, responsible and professional manner. We always acted in accordance with the requirement of the situation. We will continue to maintain close communication with India and relevant parties on this issue,” Shuang further said.
Their statement has brought the spotlight back on China's backing of Azhar and their continued dismissal of India’s efforts to the former to brand Azhar a terrorist.
Azhar was released by the government in 1999 in exchange for passengers on board IC-814, which was hijacked and flown to Kandahar. India started pushing for Azhar to be on the designated under the list since 2008, following the 26/11 attacks. China, however, withheld their support and put the proposal on hold.
Experts have said that while India may not involve their neighbouring country into the matter, especially considering the huge intel failure involved, it remains to be seen how the government will respond to China's statement.
In 2016, India renewed its efforts to get Azhar designated as a terrorist under the United Nations Security Council committee, on the grounds that he is the founder of a branded terrorist outfit.
Rallying behind its ally Pakistan, China had intervened and put a hold this proposal twice in 2016, once in March and again in October.
Finally, in December the veto-yielding China blocked the proposal completely. India, however, continued to amass support for its proposal with the United Kingdom, United States of America and France putting forth similar proposals for Azhar’s designation in February 2017. China, yet again, put a technical hold on their proposals.
While there has been consistent effort to revive India-China relations, especially since the Doklam standoff, nothing concrete has been discussed or finalized. Modi and Xi met four times last year. In fact, after the Wuhan Summit, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale had said that terrorism was discussed on a “general level” and that there was “continuing discussion between both countries on how to collaborate in this area.”
China’s statement on Friday shows that very little has been achieved through these various meetings and is bound to be a topic of discussion between the two nations at the next meeting as well.