China blocks India’s bid to list LeT leader as global terrorist


    In News

    • Recently, China once again blocked proposals by India and the United States (US) to designate Pakistan-based terrorists on the UN Security Council’s 1267 list of terror entities.

    Key Points

    • Terrorist organizations and Terrorists: 
      • India suggests a list of terrorists who are affiliated to the Al Qaeda and ISIS for listing under the United Nations Security Council’s.
      • Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) top leaders including Talha Saeed, son of Hafiz Saeed and Shahid Mehmood, deputy chief of an LeT front were mentioned in 1267 list of terrorists affiliated to Al Qaeda and ISIS. 
    • Blocking by China: 
      • The hold marked the fourth and fifth time China had attempted to block a listing move by India and the U.S. in the past four months.
    • China’s stand: 
      • China needs some time to study these specific cases, but that doesn’t mean China has changed its position on counter-terrorism cooperation efforts. 

    UNSC Resolution 1267 Sanctions Committee

    • The 1267 committee was set up in 1999 (updated in 2011 and 2015).
    • It allows any UN member state to propose adding the name of a terrorist or terror group that has affiliations to Al Qaeda and ISIS. 
    • India has successfully proposed the listing of several terror entities in the past two decades, including Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba. 
    • Rules: 
      • Once a listing is proposed, it will be adopted into the list according to a “no-objections” procedure.
      • Placing a hold: If any member of the Committee, which comprises all members of the UN Security Council, places a hold on the listing or objects outright to it, the listing cannot be adopted. 
        • As a permanent member of the UNSC, China can do this any number of times as its term doesn’t run out, and it carries a veto vote.
      • Resolution time:  The Committee is technically bound to resolve this at the end of the six-month period, the “holding” country has to decide whether to accept the listing or place a permanent objection to it. 
        • However, in practice, many of the listing proposals have had prolonged waits.
      • Under the resolution, which has been amended several times, especially after the 9/11 attacks in the US, those on the list
        • Cannot be allowed to travel out of the jurisdiction they are found in and must be prosecuted effectively
        • Must not be allowed to access their funds, and all terror-linked funds frozen
        • Must not be allowed to access weapons

    China’s Actions

    • Since 2001, China has placed holds on a number of listing proposals relating mainly to Pakistan-based groups and their leaders, given the close bilateral ties between the two countries. 
    • Most notable was China’s objections to the listing of JeM founder Masood Azhar. 
      • Azhar was released from prison by India in 1999 and handed over to terrorists in return for hostages onboard Indian Airlines flight IC-814, which should have left little doubt about Azhar’s own status as a terrorist. 
      • While the JeM was listed at the UNSC in 2001, and Azhar was mentioned as the group’s founder, he wasn’t designated for several years. 
    • After the Parliament attack and the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, China kept placing a hold on the UNSC terror listing proposals for him: in 2009, 2010, 2016-18, claiming it had “inadequate information” on Masood Azhar’s terror activities. 
    • In May 2019, three months after the Pulwama attacks that were traced to the JeM, China finally withdrew its hold.

    India’s Options and Efforts

    • India has tried a number of different ways to build international consensus on cross-border terrorism, and the UNSC terror listings have been one such route. 
    • As a UN member state, Pakistan has an obligation under the sanctions to block access for all designated entities to funds, arms and travel outside its jurisdiction.
      • This is something India has also pursued with the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, where Pakistan was placed on a “grey list” due to its inability to curb terror financing and money laundering from 2012-2015 and 2018-2022. 
      • While Pakistan is likely to be taken off that list this week, it has had to carry out several actions against terror entities on its soil, and will continue to be under scrutiny.
    • India and the U.S. have built their own separate lists of “most wanted” terrorists that document the cases against them, with a view to eventually receiving global cooperation on banning them.
    • At the UNSC meet in August, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ruchira Khamboj had called for an end to the practice of placing holds and blocks on listing requests “without giving any justification”


    • An offence to intimidate a population or to compel a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act, which causes:
      • Death or serious bodily injury to any person.
      • Serious damage to public or private property, including a place of public use, a State or government facility, a public transportation system, an infrastructure facility or the environment.
      • Damage to property, places, facilities, or systems resulting in or likely to result in a major economic loss.
    • It encompasses a range of complex threats like organized terrorism in conflict zones, foreign terrorist fighters, radicalised ‘lone wolves’, etc.
    • Factors Responsible for Growth of Terrorism:
      • State-sponsorship and safe havens.
      • State-of-the-art communication systems.
      • Access to advanced technology.
      • Networking of terrorist groups with the criminal underworld.
    • Impacts:
      • It poses a major threat to international peace and security and undermines the core values of humanity, peace and growth.
      • In addition to the devastating human cost of terrorism, in terms of lives lost or permanently altered, terrorist acts destabilise governments and undermine economic and social development.
      • Terrorist acts often defy national borders.
      • Terrorist attacks using CBRNE materials (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) have catastrophic consequences on communities and infrastructure.

    Global Efforts

    • Across the globe, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) leads and coordinates an all-of-UN approach to prevent and counter-terrorism and violent extremism.
      • UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) under UNOCT, promotes international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and supports the Member States in implementing the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
    • The Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) plays a significant role in international efforts.
      • It works to assist the Member States, upon request, with the ratification, legislative incorporation and implementation of the universal legal framework against terrorism.
    • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.

    Steps Taken by India

    • India has been at the forefront of global action against terrorism and has always played an active role in the global promotion and protection of human rights.
      • India, which has been a victim of cross-border terrorism, took cognizance of the threat long before the major world powers.
      • It is a crime against humanity and violates the most Fundamental Human Right, namely the Right to Life (Article 21).
    • India has taken steps for setting up Joint Working Groups (JWGs) on counter-terrorism/security matters with countries. 
      • Bilateral treaties on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLATs) in Criminal matters to facilitate the investigation, collection of evidence, transfer of witnesses, location and action against proceeds of crime, etc. have been signed with other countries.
    • In 2018, India highlighted its demand for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
      • In 1996, with the objective of providing a comprehensible legal framework to counter-terrorism, India proposed to the UNGA the adoption of CCIT.
      • It included the following major objectives:
        • To have a universal definition of terrorism that all members would adopt into their own criminal laws.
        • To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps.
        • To prosecute all terrorists under special laws.
        • To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence worldwide.
    • Addressing the UN High-Level Conference on Heads of Counter-Terrorism (2018), India extended a five-point formula.
    • In January 2021, at the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1373, India presented an eight-point action plan to deal with the scourge of terrorism.
      • Summoning the political will to unhesitatingly combat terrorism.
      • Decrying double standards in the fight against terrorism.
      • Reform of the working methods of the Committees dealing with Sanctions and Counter-Terrorism.
      • Firmly discouraging exclusivist thinking that divides the world and harms social fabric.
      • Enlisting and delisting individuals and entities under the UN sanctions regimes objectively not for political or religious considerations.
      • Fully recognising and addressing the link between terrorism and transnational organized crime.
      • Combating terrorist financing.
      • Immediate attention to adequate funding to UN Counter-Terrorism bodies from the UN regular budget.
    • Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System: It vastly improves the capability of Border Security Force (BSF) in detecting and controlling the cross border crimes like illegal infiltration, smuggling of contraband goods, human trafficking and cross border terrorism, etc.
    • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967: It enables more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations and for dealing with terrorist activities, and other related matters.
    • National Investigation Agency: It is India’s counter-terrorist task force and is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
    • Policy of Zero-Tolerance Against Terrorism: India calls for zero-tolerance agianst terrorism and focuses on developing a common strategy to curb it.
    • Various Counter-Terrorism Operations:
      • Operation Rakshak: Counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operation in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990.
      • Operation Sarp Vinash: Undertaken by Indian army to flush out terrorists in the areas of the Pir Panjal range in Jammu and Kashmir in 2003.
      • Operation All Out: Joint offensive launched by Indian security forces to flush out militants and terrorists in Kashmir in 2017.

    Way Ahead

    • Placing holds is most regrettable that genuine and evidence-based listing proposals pertaining to some of the most notorious terrorists in the world are being placed on hold. 
    • Double standards and continuing politicization have rendered the credibility of the sanction’s regime at an all-time low.
    • Strong and Reformed Institutions: Multilateral institutions and mechanisms need to be strengthened and reformed to be able to deal with these emerging challenges effectively.
    • Concerted Efforts: There should be a concerted effort from the countries affected by the scourge of terrorism to pressurise countries that engage in state-sponsored terrorism.
    • Timely and Appropriate Action: Intelligence gathering and sharing are not enough, timely and appropriate action is required on the intelligence received.
      • Intelligence agencies have to be empowered both monetarily and through modern infrastructure to be able to respond in time.
    • Filling and Addressing Gaps: Violation of and gaps in the implementation of human rights should be addressed in a fair and just manner, with objectivity, non-selectivity, transparency and with due respect to the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and national sovereignty.
    • United Approach and Efforts: The Covid-19 pandemic has complicated the situation in many geographies so there is a need for all to come together to overcome these challenges.

    Source: TH