Double-Aged Sword | The Background

Sunday, September 19, 2021

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Double-Aged Sword

Diptendu Sarkar:  The United Nations is now becoming a diplomatic battleground in the wake of Pulwama terror attack.

In the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting today, with the backing of France and Great Britain, Indian proposal to enlist Masood Azhar in the global terrorist list will come up. It is the fourth attempt at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist. In the present geopolitical scenario, this proposal will get favour from US and Russia too. According to reports the resolution is expected to be taken by 1267 committee of the UNSC. But for China it will be an embarrassing situation.

After the deadly Pulwama attack last month by on Jaish- e-Mohammad (JeM) led by Masood, China was forced to condemn it in the same line with the USA and Russia to maintain its leverage in the world geopolitics. Now, today if they want to exercise the veto abstaining UNSC blacklisting Masood as a global terrorist, it will prove that China is reluctant to take proper initiatives to curb world terrorism like other UNSC members and India. On the other hand, if they support the proposal it will raise bitterness with the JeM, which is most active in the China- Pakistan border region of Pakistan administered Kashmir. There is an apprehension that they would try to attack various multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects. Financially, it would be a monumental loss for China.

China is very keen to revive the ancient Silk Road; the medieval trade routes between Europe and Asia and want to invest trillions of dollars under this ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. This will be created a vast network of land and maritime routes across dozens of countries all over the world.  Under that OBOR plan, China had already started to implement another project called CPEC or China–Pakistan Economic Corridor from 2017. Under that project, China will directly invest 62 billion of dollars for its infrastructural improvements and energy sector modernizations of Pakistan. So China already started to improve historical Karakoram highway from Hasan Abdel city of Pakistan to their southern dry port city in Xinjiang. In addition to that China is also taking initiatives to connect their southern border city with two port cities- Karachi and Gwadar- through railways. This is to ensure smooth transportation of Irani-imported liquefied petroleum products to China. In the 39th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, India raised concerns and said, the project violates India’s territorial integrity.

At this juncture, China wants to prove their commitment to the world against global terrorism and their support in taking actions against persons and terrorist organisations. But if they exercise veto in blacklisting JeM and Masood Azhar in UNSC meeting today, it will be easy for India to prove their early demand that through Pakistan, China is abetting terrorism against India. It will differ from their declaration last month trilateral meeting between Indian-Russian-Chinese foreign ministers at Wuzhen in China. In the joint communiqué (27 February, 2019), they agreed to use all their powers to eradicate breeding grounds of terrorism to save the human being from the destruction.

A vast network of highways and railways are to be built under the aegis of CPEC that will span the length and breadth of Pakistan. Most of the construction works are going on inside the Pakistan Administered Kashmir region. From the beginning, India had strongly objected to taking up any permanent construction by China or Pakistan in that disputed area of Pakistan. India is not at all happy about the Chinese movement in those areas for their own security reasons.

Aftermath the Pulwama terrorist attack, India has done a cross – border aerial strike on the so-called terrorist camps in Balakot. By and large, the world leaders have accepted it and contended that India did it for their own security reasons without an intention of any aggression on its neighbour. But China is now apprehensive about India. They saw, India can use their aerial prowess in the name of terrorist breeding ground destruction initiative in a short time. As India, along with USA is against Chinese initiative in OBOR project, India can destroy Chinese infrastructure projects like dam, roads, railways and hydroelectric power stations, which are already completed in north-eastern Pakistan. If China supports the UNSC proposal today, it will be a diplomatic victory for India. That might insist JeM to take side with Taliban forces from Afghanistan to jeopardise Chinese led construction initiatives in different ways and also instigate Uighur separatist leaders in southern China, to create trouble in that region. This will also bring a serious threat to China to maintain peace inside their territory.

It looks like Masood Azhar has become a double sword so far as China is concerned. They still insist on a responsible solution to ease tensions between Pakistan and India following the Pulwama terror attack. In my view, if they walk alongside other World powers without fulfilling their present goal to complete CPEC projects they will gain more in future because it will give them leverage to prove them as one of the most trustworthy big powers in the world of geopolitics. It will also help them to create the path to gain commercially through soft powers.

Disclaimer- The views expressed here by the author is personal and do not necessarily reflect The Background’s editorial view.

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