US corners China on support to Masood Azhar

It is heartening that the United States, France and UK have taken a clear stand against China’s stalling of a United Nations plan to impose sanctions against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Azhar Masood after pronouncing him a ‘global terrorist.’ This is doubtlessly an endorsement of India’s position that the JeM is a terror outfit that had claimed responsibility for the attack in Kashmir on a truck loaded with CRPF men which claimed 40 lives and that all evidence too points in that direction.

The US, supported by France and UK has moved a draft resolution in the UN Security Council to blacklist the leader of the terror group and subject him to a travel ban, an assets freeze and an arms embargo. This comes two weeks after China put a hold on a proposal to list Azhar Masood under the 1267 Al Qaeda sanctions committee of the Security Council. Washington has sought to raise the heat by seeking a discussion in the council, inviting a sharp Chinese retort that it should act with caution.

The entire Security Council with the exception of China has supported the call for declaring Azhar Masood as a ‘global terrorist.’ Adding to the friction has been US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s calling out the contradictions of China’s forcible detention of Uighur Muslim in its own country while supporting the terror groups like JeM. The US move means that China, if it does not lift the ‘technical hold’ on sanctions against Azhar Masood will likely have to explain publicly for the first time the rationale behind the support to the leader of a UN-designated terror group.

This would bring it into conflict with various countries that profess to fight against terrorism. The Chinese have indeed kept the door open to backtrack on the protection extended to Azhar by applying the ‘technical hold.’ But sooner than later Beijing will have to shed its hypocrisy or else it would continue to lose face internationally.

Should be a sustained surge in the confidence in India of the foreign investors. It is being speculated that an interest rate cut would follow in coming weeks to boost investor sentiment further. Besides the US slowdown, growth prospects across China and Europe are also none-too-bright. Internally, the sluggish rural demand continues to be sluggish and that could be a cause for worry.

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