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Masood Azhar and China

Who is Masood Azhar?

  • Azhar was released by the A B Vajpayee government in December 1999, along with Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Omar Sheikh, in exchange for release of the passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814.

When did India’s attempt to ban Masood Azhar start?

  • The most recent effort began after JeM claimed responsibility for the attack on the Air Force Base in Pathankot. India demanded that Azhar be declared a global terrorist under the aegis of the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) 1267 committee.
  • China, which is one of the five permanent members and hence has the power to veto, intervened at Pakistan’s behest and stalled the process in the garb of a “technical hold” in March 2016 and then in October 2016. A day before the technical hold ended, China used its veto power to block the proposal banning Masood Azhar in December 2016.
  • In January 2017, China again employed a technical hold and blocked the proposal put forward by the US, the UK and France, three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

What is the reason of China’s  support of Masood Azhar?

China and Pakistan are believed to be ‘all-weather friends’, and Beijing often views New Delhi as a competitor and, even a threat. Supporting Masood Azhar could be a way to needle India and appease Pakistan.

Besides, China and Pakistan share a quid pro quo relationship, representing each other in official groups of nations where the other has a scarce representation. For instance, Pakistan stands up for China in Non-Aligned Movement (where Beijing has a scanty representation) and in return, Pakistan gets China’s veto power in the UNSC.

Another reason could be China holding a grudge against India for giving asylum to Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in 1959, after China occupied Tibet in 1950.

Whom does china equate Dalai Lama to?

For the Chinese, the Dalai Lama is sort of the equivalent of (Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist group leader) Hafeez Saeed for India.

In addition, China has recently pledged $51 billion in investments and development projects, including One Road One Belt (OROB) plan. The project, when completed, is said to provide China alternate routes to connect to Africa and West Asia, whilst providing infrastructural development to the most backward regions of Pakistan including insurgency-hit Baluchistan.

Current Affairs 2020

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