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New Delhi has reached out to key players ahead of listing of Masood Azhar by the United Nations Security Council.

Earlier on Thursday, China blocked the latest worldwide move to designate Azhar - whose group JeM claimed responsibility for the deadly Pulwama attack in February - as a global terrorist at the UNSC, allowing a major bilateral irritant with India to fester.

Sources have told newswires there is a strong case for designating Mr Azhar as a terrorist and have hinted that they may pursue "other avenues" if China continued to stand in the way. "It shouldn't have to come to that", the diplomat said.

"We will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice".

It is the third time China has vetoed such an effort by world powers, which underlines China's strong commitment to side with Pakistan in a time when India is using every worldwide forum against Pakistan.

China has twice blocked attempts, in 2016 and 2017, to impose sanctions on the JeM leader.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said Pompeo had expressed his "understanding" of India's concerns regarding cross-border terrorism.

Masood_Azhar
File image of Masood_Azhar. Image courtesy India Today

China has blocked a bid to designate the leader of the group behind an attack which brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war a terrorist.

China recorded its "technical hold" with the "1267 sanctions committee" that aims to impose strictures against individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

In a note sent to the Council, China said it needed more time to examine the sanctions request targeting Masood Azhar, diplomats said. Azhar financially supported Jaish-e Mohammad since its founding.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also recently denied in a television interview that JeM had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, Poland, Italy, Japan and Belgium were among the cosponsors of the proposal. China's move to hold the listing is inconsistent with its own stated goals of combatting terrorism and furthering regional stability in South Asia.

Congressman Brad Sherman described the Chinese move as unacceptable. This has prevented action by the global community to designate the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a proscribed and active terrorist organization which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February 2019. "This is unacceptable", he said. "China believes that only a plan adopted by all can offer a long-term solution", said the Chinese spokesperson.

As The Wire reported, India had shared recent audio records and transcripts with UNSC member states of Masood Azhar in the last one month, which showed that he was very much active in preaching jihad, and using the Pulwama attack and Indian airstrikes to call for further violence in Kashmir.

"China has been mediating between the two sides, engaged in dialogues and working very hard to promote talks, ease tensions and improve their relations".


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