India Today - - COVER STORY -

com­mit­tee had al­ready pro­scribed Azhar’s or­gan­i­sa­tion, the Jaish-eMo­ham­mad. Bei­jing now has un­til the end of the year to de­cide whether to ap­prove or ef­fec­tively veto the bid; the lat­ter out­come ap­pears like­lier.

Also high on Modi’s list of con­cerns is China’s con­tin­ued stonewalling of In­dia’s bid to en­ter the 48-mem­ber Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers Group (NSG). While Bei­jing’s op­po­si­tion was not en­tirely un­ex­pected at the group’s ple­nary ses­sion in Seoul in June, what was a sur­prise was its move to openly push for Pak­istan’s en­try along with that of In­dia. This was a clear in­di­ca­tion, one of­fi­cial said, of a new “re-hy­phen­ation” in its ap­proach to both coun­tries. In fact, Bei­jing made this plainly ev­i­dent when it sent its nu­clear ne­go­tia­tors to Is­lam­abad on Septem­ber 23, barely 10 days af­ter they had vis­ited Delhi for talks on the NSG. China’s re­peated sup­port to a glob­ally recog­nised ter­ror­ist has cer­tainly been a re­al­ity check for the Modi government, which had har­boured am­bi­tions of re­boot­ing ties with China, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the prime min­is­ter’s land­mark May 2015 visit when Xi broke with pro­to­col to host him in his home prov­ince of Shaanxi.

As much as In­dia can tol­er­ate— and to some ex­tent un­der­stand— China’s eco­nomic and strate­gic sup­port to its old ‘all-weather’ ally, the open back­ing to Azhar—that too in the af­ter­math of ter­ror attacks on In­dia— has been par­tic­u­larly galling. While Bei­jing has stalled In­dia in in­ter­na­tional fo­rums in the past, it backed moves to list leaders of the Lashkar-e-Taiba af­ter the 2008 Mum­bai attacks.

What is dif­fer­ent on this oc­ca­sion is that Bei­jing’s sup­port ap­pears to go even far­ther, with of­fi­cials even pub­licly sug­gest­ing that In­dia was to blame for try­ing to score po­lit­i­cal points with the ban—not the state ac­cused of har­bour­ing ter­ror­ists.

“There should be no dou­ble stan­dards on ter­ror­ism,” said China’s Vice For­eign Min­is­ter Li Baodong on Oc­to­ber 10. The vet­eran diplo­mat, a for­mer rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions, is an ex­pert on the work­ings The China Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor passes through ter­ri­to­ries In­dia claims as its own and has a mil­i­tary com­po­nent

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