The Opposition, in particular the Congress Party, could barely suppress its unhappiness at the huge diplomatic win by India when the Chinese finally agreed with the rest of the big powers to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. Couldn’t the Chinese have waited a couple of more weeks?, these leaders must have wondered in genuine exasperation.
The cussedness of the Congress Party showed in its response to the news about China yielding after all, abandoning its ‘all-weather friend’ Pakistan for once to do the right thing not only by India but by the world at large wracked as it is by the rising threat of jihadi terror. Of course, the Modi Government has to be complimented for its sheer determination and perseverance. It never dropped the ball, pressing the Chinese relentlessly to see reason.
But, admittedly, India could not have achieved success on the global diplomatic front without the active support of the French, the British and the Americans. After Pulwama, these countries showed rare solidarity to ensure that Pakistan’s most favourite son is blacklisted as a global terrorist. The Chinese were forced on the back foot since they were the only ones holding out in defence of a dangerous terror-master.
They had bailed out Azhar on previous occasions as well but this time was different. Post-Pulwama, in mid-March for the fourth time in a decade India sought to have Azahar declared a global terrorist. China again blocked the move. India had itself moved a proposal to designate Azhar back in 2009 but nothing came of it. In early 2016, western nations did not pursue the move once the Chinese put a technical hold and kept blocking it in the UN’s sanctions committee all through the year and next.
But following Pulwama, the global outrage was such that the French took the lead in pressing for the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief to be designated a global terrorist. The Chinese were still not ready to desert Pakistan, their favourite client-State, but it was the fear of complete isolation and humiliation that made them see reason. The three western powers moved an informal proposal to bring up the resolution against Azhar in the full meeting of the UN Security Council and have it passed there by an overwhelming majority.
In that case, China vetoing would have made it look like a global pariah, aiding and abetting a notorious terrorist who was behind numerous terror attacks against India and others within his own country. (Whether or not China would admit it publicly, the manner in which it is suppressing with an iron fist a sizable portion of its people who profess faith in Islam, the way it is forcibly leveling mosques, accusing Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang of waging terror and worse against the established order, it ought to have persuaded it to cooperate with India in disciplining Pakistan.
It is remarkable that neither Saudi Arabia nor any other Islamic country, nor, for that matter, the Islamic Organization for Cooperation has uttered a word edgeways even though there is overwhelming evidence of tens of thousands of their co-religionists being meted inhuman treatment in prisons and outside in the name of re-orienting them for progressive living.)
Instead, China openly behaved in a most opportunistic manner, passively witnessing its ‘all-weather friend’ export terror to India.
Such short-termism did not behove a country keen to play a much bigger role on the global stage. At long last, the Chinese cooperation with the other permanent and temporary members of the Security Council was preceded by a public show of diplomatic exchanges between India and itself, with the Chinese seeking new evidence to lift their obstruction.
These exchanges were supposed to be a mere face-saver for China since India had furnished evidence of Azhar’s role as the chief conspirator in launching terrorist attacks against this country a number of times.
Meanwhile, as the Prime Minister said, the Chinese falling in line at long last marks a big win for the Indian diplomacy. Undoubtedly, if Modi and other BJP leaders exploit the success on the stump they have duly earned the bragging rights. The opposition can go sulk in their desolate tents.