China has, for the second time, blocked India's bid requesting the United Nations to ban Masood Azhar, chief of the Pakistan-based terror outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). In 2001, the UN had banned JeM but India's efforts to ban Masood Azhar after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack did not fructify as China - one of the five permanent members of the UN group with veto powers - did not allow the ban apparently, at the behest of Pakistan.
According to media reports, India is unhappy at the developments which are being seen as a failure of diplomacy. Reports suggest that India will soon respond to China's stand. According to highly-placed sources, China requested the UN committee - which is considering the ban on Masood, who is alleged to be the mastermind of the 2 January Pathankot terror attack - to hold on to the decision, just hours before the deadline earlier today.
After the January attack on the IAF base at Pathankot, India wrote to the UN, calling for immediate action to list Azhar under the al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
The submission was armed with strong evidence of the JeM's terror activities and its role in the Pathankot attack that killed seven Indian military personnel. India also told the UN Sanctions Committee that not listing Azhar would expose it and other countries in South Asia to threats from the JeM and Azhar himself.
India's submission was considered by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) for technical aspects of the evidence provided. The technical team then - with the support of the US, UK and France - sent it to all the members, sources said. Members were told that the designation would be announced after the expiry of the deadline - should the members have no objection.
"However, hours before the deadline, China requested the committee to hold up the banning of the JeM chief," sources said. According to other government sources, the Chinese action was in "consultation" with Pakistan, which is not on the UN committee.
- With inputs from PTI