On the face, China opposes all forms of terrorism but reality says otherwise. As Chanakya has said “There is some self interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self interests. This is a bitter Truth”.
Today, Chinese interests lie with Pakistan and international relations are all about national interests. China and Pakistan are all weather friends. Fulfilling national interests and keeping an old friend happy is what china basically is doing. It’s killing two birds with one stone. This year, China has blocked India’s bid to get Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar declared as a UN-designated terrorist. The first instance was in April and the second earlier this month.
India holds Masood Azhar responsible for many terrorist acts in India including the 13 December 2001 attack on India’s parliament as well the 2 January 2016 attack on the Pathankot airbase. According the sources, China was the only nation among the 15-member UN Security Council (UNSC) to oppose the ban on Azhar with countries such as Saudi Arabia backing India. Replying to a question on criticism about China’s move to stall India’s bid for a UN ban on Azhar, China’s vice foreign minister Li Baodong said, “China is opposed to all forms of terrorism. There should be no double standards on counter-terrorism. Nor should one pursue own political gains in the name of counter-terrorism”.
So, why is China supporting Masood Azhar and why is he so important to China?
Well, there are several explanations. China and Pakistan are “all-weather friends” Beijing’s efforts are aimed at keeping its ally in South Asia and Pakistan happy on one hand while on the other hand keeping India busy in these issues with neighbours. Breakthrough in brokering a peace deal with Pakistan would mean a stronger India and a focused competitior. Pakistan supports China within groupings like Non Aligned Movement and Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Pakistan has supported China in IOC regarding the Muslim Uyghur community issue in west China.
Another reason can be India’s sheltering of “Dalai Lama”- temporal head of Tibetan Buddhists. Dalai Lama had fled Tibet after a failed uprising against China. It has always troubled China since day one. The One Belt One Road initiative and CPEC corridor China wants to build. Pakistan’s support is required for this dream of Chinese dragon to turn into reality. The port is important for China which sees it as an alternative to sea routes from Africa and West Asia through the South China Sea. The project is projected as bringing development to some of Pakistan’s most backward regions like Baluchistan where Islamabad has been trying to quell an insurgency for decades.
There may be some other hidden reasons but let’s see if Indian diplomacy can turn the tables around. Only time and efforts can tell.
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