Going by the past record, it is hardly surprising that China has, for the fourth time, blocked a collective international bid at the United Nations to list Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. As has been in the past, the reason cited by Beijing — that it needs “more time to study the matter” — is specious and hollow and makes a mockery of its stated commitment to fighting terrorism in the region. It is clear that China’s decision to shield Pakistan from the ignominy of global isolation is entirely guided by its strategic self-interests. For China, whose assertion of territorial hegemony in the South Asian region is well known, Pakistan is a client state that is willing to surrender its economic sovereignty in return for a few doles and infrastructure projects. Pakistan is a crucial link to China’s ties with the Muslim world. The calculation that listing JeM chief may have spillover security problems in the restive Xinjiang province could also have influenced Beijing’s decision, in utter disregard of the international opinion. The fact that India could muster the support of three of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, UK and France — as co-sponsors shows that there is a growing global consensus on terrorism and Pakistan’s undeniable role in nurturing terror outfits. By placing a technical hold once again, China is playing into the hands of Pakistan’s ‘good terrorist versus bad terrorist’ game. It appears that Beijing is betting on Rawalpindi bosses to keep Uighur separatists in check in return for a lenient approach towards anti-India terrorist groups operating from Pakistani soil.
It is strange that Beijing is insisting on further evidence to designate Azhar as a global terrorist when his outfit has not only claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror strike, in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed, but also issued fresh warnings of further attacks on Indian cities. Azhar was also the mastermind of several terror strikes in the country, including the attacks on Parliament, Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, Pathankot air force base and the army camp at Uri. Beijing must realise that its strategy of tolerating one part of Pakistani terror ecosystem and giving in to the ‘good terrorists-bad terrorists’ game is doomed to fail in the long run. It should realise how the Pakistani deep state while professing to crack down on some Uighur groups with its left hand, was quietly supporting other anti-India outfits with its right seeing them as useful assets. This devious game must stop because terrorism is a Frankenstein monster that will destroy its creators. On its part, India must continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that leaders of terror groups are brought to justice.