China has once again refused to declare Masood Azhar a terrorist. This has disappointed India and western countries. We are wondering about the real reason for China’s stand. Every Indian is also very angry and disappointed with China. We want the Indian government to settle the score with China. But before coming to this, let’s have a recap of all events.
A background check
On February 14, 2019, the Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammad carried out a terror attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama, Kashmir. 44 CRPF personnel martyred in this suicide bombing. In response, the Indian Air Force bombed out a Jaish terror camp. It was estimated that more than 200 terrorists killed in this air-strike.
Bid to ban Azhar Masood failed agin
But India wasn’t satisfied by this strike alone. It demanded the United Nations Security Council to declare Azhar a terrorist and freeze his funding. Pakistan then would be forced to arrest him and put a complete ban on his activities.
United States, Russia, United Kingdom and France supported India. 14 out of 15 countries suppirted India’s demand during UNSC meeting.
But things did not turn the way India expected. Azhar once again walked out free after China put up its ‘Great Wall’ to the France proposal. This wasn’t the first time that China had blocked any resolution on Azhar. China has so far refused four times to brand him a global terrorist. Not surprisingly, the Indian government was disappointed at the turn of events.
The Chinese stance angered the Indian public greatly. Twitter was flooded with messages saying that it was time Indians boycotted the Chinese products.
A flimsy ground?
Later, China explained its reason why it opposed the Azhar resolution. Its ambassador to the United Nations Liu Jieyi said that Masood Azhar cannot be called a global terrorist according to the resolutions adopted by the United Nations 1267 Sanctions Committee. This body, according to Jiyeyi, was created to declare Al Qaeda and Taliban as global terrorist organizations because they were providing shelter to Osama bin Laden.
Indian and western diplomats termed the Chinese stance on the Masood Azhar issue as hogwash. It made sense for the Chinese to acknowledge the global threat posed by terrorism, according to these officials. Based in Pakistan, Azhar has used his terrorists to stage attacks on India several times. He has openly asked his cadres to wage jihad against India. If this is not terrorism, then what else is?
The real reason?
Both, India and China had a long history of strained relationship. Though they share a healthy business and cultural relationship, all is not well between them. They have a long territorial dispute.
Tibbet and Dalai Lama Standoff
China is bitter that India has given political asylum to the Dalai Lama. It feels that India still does not accept Tibet as Chinese territory. The Dalai Lama continues to use Indian soil for advancing the Tibetan cause.
China has warned India on several occasions not to allow the Tibetan leader to operate from Dharamsala but New Delhi has always ignored those. At times, China has called the Dalai Lama as a terrorist! So, is China now using the Masood Azhar issue to take revenge against India?
The Doklam & Arunachal Pradesh dispute
Secondly, the Doklam standoff also rankles China. China claims whole Doklam plateau. But it hadn’t anticipated that India would not budge an inch from Doklam.
In June 2017, some units of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army intruded into the Bhutanese territory and tried constructing a road. But after India’s resistance, they have to move back. China also claims whole Arunachal Pradesh as its territory.
Indian stance on South China Sea
Is it something to do with the Indian stance on the South China Sea? In recent years, India and the United States have challenged China’s dominance over this sea which is an important trading corridor. The South China Sea holds vast reserves of
China’s support to Pakistan
The conventional logic is that China will never abandon its traditional ally, Pakistan. Both countries work closely on matters related to defense, trade, and industry. It should be remembered that Pakistan and China have signed the One Belt agreement which lets the latter to construct roads and other projects in China.
Shield against OIC
One reason why China is backing Pakistan on the Masood Azhar issue could be the OIC. China is not a member of this Islamic body and would like to expand its influence there with the help of Pakistan. It hopes that with Pakistan on its side, China will expand its One Belt One Road (OBOR)
UN: A toothless tiger
From India’s standpoint, it hardly matters whether Jaish is banned or not. It can always reinvent itself under a new name and resume its attacks against India. It is Masood Azhar who needs to be jailed because he is the fountainhead of terrorism. But the Pakistanis won’t touch him. He is a vital asset of the ISI, and any harm done to him will hurt Pakistan also.
We know Hafiz Saeed is a declared global terrorist. But he is roaming free and fighting elections in Pakistan. UN could not arrest or prosecute him. He is still raising money for terrorism. UN is a toothless tiger who can roar but can’t harm a predator. For the UN to ensure its credibility, it has to bring, implement and execute some strict laws.
So what should India do next?
It is indeed disappointing to note that China doesn’t support India on the Masood Azhar issue. But we should remember that we have to fight the terrorism all alone. The US is supporting us because it needs India in its struggle against China. Russia, the UK, and France are not as much affected by this threat as we are. These countries will make some song and dance about the Masood Azhar issue and not much. Too much dependence on these countries on the Azhar matter will only disappoint us.
Another surgical strike?
We have bitten the bullet and struck deep within Pakistan. Pakistan knows that India can repeat the same. They too are alert now and have mobilizes their armed forces along the Indian border. But they wouldn’t like to have a war. With no money in hand, a war could be suicidal for Pakistan. Also, general elections around, another surgical strike or a war with Pakistan looks like a distant reality.
Choke Pakistan Financially
Currently, Pakistan is not financially sound. It is looking at China and rich Muslim countries for providing financial assistance. Recently Saudi Arabia has announced to invest $20 bn in Pakistan. It is also estimated that for Gwadar port alone, Pakistan owes China $10 bn. So choking Pakistan financially looks like a distant dream. Even if we stop business with Pakistan, there would not be much impact. China is ready to provide any assistance to Pakistan for ensuring a tab on us.
A hard stand with China
India China trade has a value of almost $100 bn yearly. With a trade deficit of $60 bn, India is the biggest exporter of Chinese electronics and automobile products. Chinese companies have hugely invested in Indian startups. A complete ban on Chinese products and investment will not be a good step. We are too much dependent on China. Instead, increasing import duty or blacklisting certain product can send a strong signal.