Banning Masood Azhar is not issue of China but global: Modi

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NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar was designated as a global terrorist because India is now seen as a nation that will leave no stone unturned to ensure the safety and security of its citizens.

Pakistan-based Masood Azhar was designated as a global terrorist on May 1 after China withdrew its long-standing block to the move. Beijing had blocked the move four times.

The terror tag for Azhar, seen as a major diplomatic victory for India, was possible after continued pressure by the US on China. The US even threatened to take the matter UN Security Council, where discussions are held in public, unlike consultations held behind closed doors.

In an interview to Hindustan Times, PM Modi said Azhar’s listing was a byproduct of his government’s ‘India First’ foreign policy which has brought about a fundamental paradigm shift. The PM stressed that the Masood Azhar issue isn’t about China but about global terrorism.

“We are now seen and respected as a nation that will leave no stone unturned to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. This is the reason major nations of the world stood with our decision of surgical strikes and air strikes. This is also the reason why the long-pending listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist has happened. But the Azhar issue isn’t about China. Why do we keep making it so? It is a global terrorism issue,” Modi said.

Masood Azhar was listed by the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee for his association with al-Qaeda and his role in financing, planning and facilitating terrorist acts by the JeM.

PM Modi said India and China are leading power centres who understand that there is a lot more common ground between them. “Both our countries realise and accept that we have disagreements but we are also conscious of the fact that we will not let these disagreements become disputes,” he added.