China signals shift: UNSC condemns Pulwama terror attack, names Jaish

Shubhajit Roy
As many as 40 CRPF personnel were killed after a suicide bomber rammed his Scorpio SUV laden with explosives into a CRPF bus in south Kashmir.

Signalling a clear shift, China Thursday signed off on a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) statement that "condemned in the strongest terms" the Pulwama terror attack and named Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad for the "heinous and cowardly suicide bombing".

The statement is significant because China has singlehandedly blocked the listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a "global terrorist" at the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 sanctions committee for the last 10 years. At least three attempts in the last decade - in 2009, 2016 and 2017 - have been blocked by Beijing at Pakistan's behest.

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Sources said France took the lead in issuing the statement at the UNSC - which includes US, UK, Russia and China - that "urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of India and all other relevant authorities in this regard". This is a reference to the Indian government's efforts to list Azhar as a global terrorist.

Sources said that while Beijing agreed to name JeM, which is a UN-proscribed terrorist group since 2002, it has not yet yielded on Azhar's listing.

The statement, which was issued late Thursday night, said "the members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir, which resulted in over 40 Indian paramilitary forces dead and dozens wounded on February 14, 2019, for which Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility".

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"The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the Indian people and the government of India, and wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured," it said.

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It also said that the members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. "The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice," it said.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that "any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed".

They reaffirmed the need for all states to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

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After the Pulwama attack, the Chinese Foreign ministry spokesperson did not mention JeM or Azhar, Pakistan or even Kashmir. "China notes reports on the suicide terrorist attacks and (is) deeply shocked by the attack. We express deep condolences and sympathies to the injured and bereaved families. We firmly oppose and strongly condemn all forms of terrorism. We hope relevant regional countries will cooperate to cope with the threat of terrorism and jointly uphold regional peace and stability," the spokesperson had said.