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China blocks India's request for UN to blacklist militant chief
[NEW DELHI] China has blocked India's request to add the head of the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad to a UN Security Council blacklist of groups linked to al Qaeda.
India has accused Jaish-e-Mohammad and its top leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, of masterminding several attacks, including a deadly assault on an Indian air base in January.
Pakistani security officials interrogated Mr Azhar and his associates after the attack, and said they found no evidence linking him to it.
Jaish-e-Mohammad has already been blacklisted by the 15-nation Security Council, but not Mr Azhar, an Islamist hardliner and long-time foe of India.
Foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said on Friday that India had requested that Mr Azhar be added to the list nine months ago and had received strong backing from all other members of the council.
But China, which put a hold on the move in April, had now blocked it, he said.
"We had expected China would have been more understanding of the danger posed to all by terrorism," he said in a statement.
Mr Swarup added that the inability of the international community to take the step showed the "prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism".
China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Friday evening.
India has long accused its neighbour and rival Pakistan of using Jaish-e-Mohammad as a proxy to mount attacks on Indian soil, including in the disputed Kashmir region, and earlier gave what it called "actionable intelligence" to Pakistan, including telephone intercepts.
Pakistan denies giving any aid to Kashmir-based militants.
If Mr Azhar was blacklisted by the UN Security Council, he would face a global travel ban and asset freeze.