As China Shields Jaish-e-Mohammad, Time for India to Act

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As China Shields Jaish-e-Mohammad, Time for India to Act

China has always blocked international sanctions against the Jaish-e-Mohammad. But time has come for India to act.

China’s stand on Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Maulana Masood Azhar once again came into sharp focus after the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed on February 14. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility, but China refused to name the terrorist group despite the organisation having carried out multiple attacks on India over the last nearly two decades.

If India does want to directly confront China, it could begin by taking a lesson from America’s playbook and initiate action against Chinese companies like Huawei. It will not affect India-China ties, but the overall talk about China in India will reduce. With the negative public opinion, there may be restrictions on some companies, like what US President Trump did.

China has been stubborn in refusing to lift its “technical hold” on a proposal to declare Azhar a global terrorist under UN Security Council Resolution 1267, which prescribes a sanctions regime against designated terrorists and terrorist groups.

The reason  Pakistan is an “all weather” ally in South Asia; China has huge business interests in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and, lastly it wants to slow India’s economic growth.

CPEC runs across the length of Pakistan, linking Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang province to the Gwadar deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea near Pakistan’s border with Iran. Chinese firms have invested close to $40 billion in around 45 CPEC projects, about half of which are nearing completion. China is determined to protect this gigantic investment of money, personnel and time.

CPEC is a critical part in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to connect Asia, Europe and Africa by building and upgrading road, rail, and sea infra on a massive scale.
Good relations with Pakistan, and international protection for ISI proxies like Jaish provide China with insurance against terrorist attacks on CPEC infrastructure and the thousands of Chinese working on them.

The project has been targeted by Baloch separatists as well as the Pakistani Taliban, who have claimed to be protesting China’s treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority in eastern Xinjiang.

China also does not want India to be an economic power. Since China views India as a competitor, Beijing looks to tie down New Delhi to South Asia using issues like Azhar. By supporting Pakistan on UNSC Resolution and blocking India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group by tying its bid to Pakistan’s, China seeks to needle and frustrate India.