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    OpinionsMasood Azhar: An Albatross around India’s Neck

    Masood Azhar: An Albatross around India’s Neck

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    Masood Azhar: An Albatross around India's Neck

    V.B.N. Ram

    On every occasion the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is unable to sanction Maulana Masood Azhar under the UNSC Resolution 1267 – the ISI in Pakistan, its clergy and the Pakistani Taliban feel emboldened and utterly elated. Sanctioning this dreaded terrorist would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban.

    China, a veto holding power of the UN 1267 Committee has blocked India's application to sanction Azhar on three occasions, despite India relentlessly and persuasively appealing to China to exercise better judgment and from adopting double standards i.e. claiming to champion the effort towards fighting terror –whereas, in actual practice supporting an internationally notorious terror master mind.

    China ever since its inception, has felt highly apprehensive or, even insecure, because of many factors – notably the Indian/ international impact of the manner in which it invaded Tibet…

    China ever since its inception, has felt highly apprehensive or, even insecure, because of many factors – notably the Indian/ international impact of the manner in which it invaded Tibet and its ethnic cleansing causing a demographic upheaval in this earlier peaceful Buddhist region ; India's approval and support to the Tibetan government in exile-even though New Delhi ostensibly acknowledges the one-China policy. The symptoms of its dislike for India are visibly manifest when it issues stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh (a region which it still describes as South China) ; when it obstructs India's entry to the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) ; when it blatantly displays the disingenuity, or perhaps the political immaturity by desisting to have Azhar put under the UNSC 1267 sanctions.

    Of course, Pakistan would never be pleased with Beijing – it's all friend – If the latter ever took a political stance favouring New Delhi at the expense of Islamabad. Pakistan has in turn made China belittle and humiliate India at international fora such as the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), Non-Alignment Movement et al. Pakistan has even supported China when Muslim countries at the OIC displayed their displeasure at Beijing for its actions against the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province.

    Obama Administration's proximity to India:

    That, New Delhi in recent years, has very close ties with Washington, covering a gamut of areas extending beyond and commerce, makes China unhappy for two reasons: a) because it perceives this closeness as a planned strategy against China, part of an overall US policy of India being treated by the US as pivot to Asia, and b) because it amounts to a potential loss to China, since part of India's which now goes to the US, would otherwise, perhaps, have been directed to China.

    China will never betray it's all weather “trusted friend”. India can never be so totally submissive by China to the same level as Pakistan.

    China also detests India's close commercial ties with countries such as Vietnam especially as regards oil exploration, but other areas including defence ties. Some think tanks have got immensely wary of India's decision to sell the Akash surface to air missiles to Vietnam. An in a national daily has spelt out the likely adverse response from China, arising out of New Delhi's above decision. This writer strongly believes that in the given geostrategic situation Beijing will, under no circumstances , make any significant changes in its policy to appease India, regardless of whether we make military supplies to Vietnam, or don't. In many instances such pro India gestures from Beijing, if any, will have to be at the cost of its close bonds with Islamabad. China will never betray it's all weather “trusted friend”. India can never be so totally submissive by China to the same level as Pakistan.

    Who is Maulana Masood Azhar:

    Azhar had already initiated baby steps in terrorism as the General Secretary of Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) a terrorist network which had conducted terror attacks in Kashmir in 1994. Though he was arrested in Feb of the same year, he was later released. The US realized the gravity of his crimes and the HuA was included in the US list of foreign terrorist organizations. To overcome the implications of the US action – the HuA had its name changed to Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). To further strengthen his terrorist infrastructure, especially directed towards Kashmir, Azhar founded the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) – Pakistan's ISI provided the required support system including funds. The then Taliban regime in Afghanistan along with Osama Bin Laden and several Sunni sectarian outfits also chipped in with massive support.

    JeM

    Thousands large number of Jihadi outfits in Pakistan sheet anchor this notorious network. The principal aim of this set up is to liberate Kashmir, however, the subsidiary role is to foment unrest in any part of India for any plausible cause. Pakistan under pressure from India and the international community arrested Azhar on Dec 29, 2001 following the Dec 29, 2001 attack on India's Parliament building. However, as is usually the case with the judiciary in Pakistan, a three member Review Board of Lahore High Court ordered him released on Dec 14, 2002.

    Even if China condones Azhar's role in the Mumbai terror attacks (which were most heinous) how can it overlook the hijacking of the passenger civil aircraft. By doing so, China itself becomes the biggest abettor of terror.

    JeM's Modus operandi for Terror :

    Foot soldiers of the JeM launch frequent suicide attacks, they are armed heavily with sophisticated weapons and carry rations for a few days, their aim is to cause large scale destruction to life and property. This network operates in close conjunction to the Binoria Madarsa in Karachi. This group is well connected to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The JeM also has close links with the Sipah-e-Sabaha of Pakistan (SSP) and Lashkar e Jhangvi (LeJ)

    The biggest stumbling block to world peace continues to be terrorism, yet Pakistan, in conjunction with the then Afghanistan's Taliban regime facilitated the release of Masood Azhar and two other dreaded militants viz Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh (who had been jailed in India). This exchange for the passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines (IC 814) aircraft was done by India, under duress –the hijacked plane was on its way from Katmandu to Delhi. This despicable act of was planned and executed by Azhar in Dec 1999. Islamabad, instead of being blamed for embracing the terrorists alongside Afghanistan's Taliban for its act-actually sought to claim credit for pretending to ensure that the plane and its passengers remained unscathed on its soil, before the plane was facilitated by Pakistan to take off for Kandahar –where the hijacked aircraft's hostages were exchanged for the three terrorists.

    Even if China condones Azhar's role in the Mumbai terror attacks (which were most heinous) how can it overlook the hijacking of the passenger civil aircraft. By doing so, China itself becomes the biggest abettor of terror.

    New Delhi should not overlook the efforts by Beijing to win over the UNSC members to its side.

    That China has been unwise in blocking Sanctions against Azhar has been criticized by many China-India relations experts within China. Mao Siwei China's former council General in Kolkata, in a blog on his We Chat account has said “ the problem of Masood Azhar has become a major issue that impacts China –India relations and also constitutes the major element of decline in ties “

    What Should India do to have Azhar sanctioned:

    India should make intensive efforts to convince the five UNSC permanent members (China included) of the rationale to Sanction Azhar and also act similarly as regards the 10 non-permanent UNSC members. This hopefully, will work in India's favour.

    New Delhi should not overlook the efforts by Beijing to win over the UNSC members to its side. On the last occasion when it prevented sanctions against Azhar because of a “ technical hold “ despite total unanimity among UNSC members , China did get worried of its isolation, yet isolation is what China deserves.

    Northlines
    Northlines
    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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