After a fourth failed attempt to get a culpable global terrorist acknowledge by China, India must set aside traditional diplomatic approach and look at other ways of resolving the JeM Chief issue.
- Born through devious tactics of intelligence agencies during the Cold War, militancy and terrorism has become an untamable global issue
- China has been leveraging its economic advantage over India to support Pakistan on the global platform
- Geopolitical interests and China’s rise to prominence in South Asian Diplomacy has become a thorn in India’s effort to maintain its authority in the subcontinent
- Unchecked global terrorism raises questions upon UN Security Council’s quest for legitimacy and cohesion
After a humiliating military disaster in the 1971 War, Pakistani moved up from conventional warfare to fight through proxies. The idea germinated from its successful employment of Islamic militants, forerunners of Taliban — to destabilize then Afghan government.
Then in 80s, Pakistan rallied behind secessionist elements within India, in the process giving rise to radical ideologies that destabilized the border states for years. JeM chief Masood Azhar is perhaps the biggest accomplishments of this satanic plan of Pakistan. The terror group is responsible for four of the most heinous terrorist attacks that took place in India’s recent history. Starting with the 2001 Parliament Attack, JeM continued to wreak havoc with the 2008 bombings and shootings in Mumbai. The group returned to prominence in 2016, with an attack at the airbase in Pathankot.
Now in Pulwama, it executed the suicide bombing which took the lives of 44 CRPF personnel and then came out in the open with blatant acceptance of responsibility. JeM is the evolution of Pakistan’s game plan that no longer lingers in complete deniability. Instead, keeps India constantly involved in matters of internal security and authority in sensitive areas like Kashmir. Further, it enables Pakistan’s politicians to play a game of diplomacy and hypocrisy.
China’s behavior a consistent pattern over the last decade
China blocking, on technical grounds, was the fourth time it has happened, once by the US and thrice by India. It said it wants more time to study the entire context. China is the only major country standing by Pakistan, amid growing global criticism for supporting and funding terrorist groups, since Pulwama attack and the military stand-off that followed. The reason is huge opportunities of economic expansion presented to China in the shape of an underdeveloped and sluggish Pakistan economy. This is proving big deterrent in India’s bid to garner empathy from the neighbour.
Calling Masood a global terrorist would be a huge dent to Pakistan’s image who has let him move freely inside the country for years. As per a report from Mint, this serves two purposes for China – help its “all-weather friend” Pakistan and keep India engaged with its own local problems.
India’s repeated attempts signal a haplessness
Repeated governments have not only lost face but failed in a diplomatic adventure to increase confidence of the masses. It can be argued that the home work by India on this issue was incomplete in many ways. By briefing diplomats of about two dozen members countries India attempted to mount pressure on the UNSC permanent member China for adopting the resolution.
BJP had seen the affinity between Modi and Xi Jinping as an opportunity to add a feather to its cap before the forthcoming elections. Instead the party was left red-faced by a more powerful nation’s treatment. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj flew to Beijing when Pakistan retaliated to the February 26 airstrikes. At the trilateral meeting with Russian and Chinese foreign ministers, she justified that Pakistan’s inaction on JeM had triggered the airstrikes.
As per diplomatic sources, China had offered to send an envoy to both India and Pakistan to help in easing tensions after the airstrikes, but New Delhi responded in the negative. Modi Government has directly blamed Pakistan unlike previous governments. This aggression from India wasn’t well received by its other and more powerful neighbour who has vested interests in Pakistan.
It is safe to say that the MEA royally faltered in its pursuit.
Would the enlisting of Azhar have made a difference?
Individuals placed on the list are subject to an asset freeze, arms embargo and travel ban in UN member countries. L-e-T chief, Hafiz Saeed, and his deputy, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi were placed on the list after the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Pakistan has refused to crack down on Hafiz Saeed who has been listed for a decade.
Diplomats and analysts have long argued that the listing is mostly symbolic and carries no significance. It is said that Azhar’s addition is unlikely to have any effect on the ground. In an interview to The Wire, Shivshankar Menon, former national security adviser, questioned the utility of India expending diplomatic capital in pursuit of this goal.
UN Security Council – Flying or Handcuffed?
Credits: A chart plotted from the data in the GTD. A total of 182,438 incidents are plotted.
The UNSC was created as a peace-enforcing body in charge of guaranteeing international peace and security after the horror and devastation of World War II. But fervent opponents have voiced concerns to reconsider the original role of the SC, namely as the political peace-enforcer. The ultimate test of SC’s legitimacy remains the level of acceptance of its word by the UN Member States. SC should not be seen as an abdication to power politics, but as a pragmatic legal approach to solving issues where nations will have to agree to disagree.
The challenge of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism against India will have to be met through sustained and multi-pronged action. India cannot depend on UNSC to influence greater nations. The answer might lie in a stronger economic hold where India has leverage in its conversations with dogmatic nations like China.
Perhaps India could take a page out of the books of agencies like Mossad and US Navy Seals (who killed bin Laden) which rather than getting embroiled in political trysts, enable their countries to clear threats to national security via covert operations.
Till then, the man behind some of the most gruesome attacks on Indian soil, Masood Azhar continues to be free.
- Double standards continue as countries assess issues of international terrorism issues based on their own geopolitical interests
- Pakistan is unlikely to take sustained or meaningful action against JeM despite some recent cosmetic support towards India’s cause
- There is no point in India going back to the UNSC time and again with an approach that has a cent per cent failure record.
- A political solution lies in having better economic bargaining par with China; perhaps India can explore covert ops to tackle the issue
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