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India likely to raise Masood issue with China

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India is likely to raise with China the issue of Beijing blocking its latest bid to have JeM chief Masood Azhar designated terrorist by the UN in the aftermath of terror strike at the Pathankot air force base.

India has been “disappointed” by the Chinese action at the UN and is expected to take up the issue at the “political- level” at the “first given opportunity”, sources said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is travelling to Moscow later this week to attend RIC (Russia-India-China) ministerial meeting. On the sidelines, a bilateral meeting between Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi is expected during which the issue of China blocking the designation as terrorist of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief and Mumbai terror attack mastermind at the UN is likely to figure.

Last week, China stopped UN sanctions committee from designating Azhar as terrorist, maintaining that the case “did not meet the requirements” of the Security Council.

This is not the first time China has blocked India’s bid to get Pakistan-based militant groups and leaders proscribed by the UN.

The UN had banned the JeM in 2001 but India’s efforts for slapping sanctions on Azhar after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack also did not fructify as China, that has veto powers, did not allow it apparently at the behest of Pakistan again.

Last July, China had similarly halted India’s move in the UN to take action against Pakistan for its release of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, saying that its stand was “based on facts and in the spirit of objectiveness and fairness” with Beijing again claiming at the time that it was in touch with New Delhi.

Expressing its strong “disappointment” over the development, India said it finds it “incomprehensible” that while the Pakistan-based JeM was listed by the UN Committee for its well known terror activities and links to the Al Qaeda, the designation of the group’s “main leader, financier and motivator” has been put on a “technical hold”.

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