China again blocked a move to declare Masood Azhar a global terrorist. It should be called out
Masood Azhar does not shy away from attacking India in both his words and deeds. The physically unfit jihadi leader and chief of the dreaded terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad happily goads young men into committing horrible acts of terror by brainwashing them with all sorts of imagined ills and Hinduphobia. And he has never been ashamed to admit that. His various organisations over the years, the Jaish being just their latest iteration, have claimed several attacks in India that have killed and maimed hundreds. And for that reason, Indian diplomats at the United Nations urged the Security Council to declare him a global terrorist. But Pakistan’s sugar daddy China played along with the whims of its protege and shot down the proposal. This was not totally unexpected but this time, given the mounting proof of the terror attacks and even the West’s exasperation with their scale, China’s duplicitous talk has been exposed.
The irony in all this is that while Azhar talks of Indian Muslims being persecuted by their “Hindu rulers”, he is blind to China, where there are an estimated two million Uighur Muslims in re-education camps, where Uighur children are being forcibly separated from their parents, being forced to eat pork and made to assimilate with the Han Chinese population. In a country that has banned the construction of mosques and does not allow for any visible Islamic rituals, including the observance of Ramadan, Azhar or others who talk of protecting “Islam” will not utter a peep. Azhar knows that if he protests against the actual religious persecution of Muslims, he will be quickly disowned by the Pakistani state, used to genuflecting before the Chinese. From China’s perspective, it will never touch Azhar for this exemption. Besides, it needs to make good on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a showcase of the Belt and Road Initiative and needs to humour its western ally, especially after its neutrality during the post-Balakot strikes. On its part, India may not have many tools at its disposal, especially after the informal summit at Wuhan and simmering down of tensions in Doklam. Then there is the bigger issue of the economy. Far too many Indians are used to buying cheap Chinese-manufactured goods. At the same time, the massive infrastructure push over the past two decades has in part been possible on the back of Chinese workers and capital goods. But Indians can start, first by reducing their reliance on cheap Chinese products. This might even have the positive impact of helping reduce India’s massive trade deficit with China and encourage manufacturing. At the same time, India should urge its celebrities, many of whom happily pocket Chinese money, to stop endorsing Chinese brands, and this includes Indian cricket, now slosh with Chinese money. Pakistan is a mere pinprick in India’s side, it is the schoolyard runt picking on the smart kid because he knows he has the backing of the school bully. But bullies always get their comeuppance.