By Vipin Pubby
Speaking at the recent BRICS summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping, called on the member countries to adopt a “holistic approach” to fight terrorism in all its forms and address both its “symptoms and root causes” so that terrorists will have no place to hide.
“I am convinced that as long as we take a holistic approach to fighting terrorism in all its forms, and address both its symptoms and root causes, terrorists will have no place to hide,” he said.
His remarks had come days after US President Donald Trump hit out at China’s close ally Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos”. India too had been asking China to condemn terrorism and join the war against the menace. However China had been successfully blocking declaration of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist. His role in a host of terrorist activities, including the attacks on Parliament and Pathankot air base, is too well known.
China had blocked the proposal by US, France and UK to designate Azhar a global terrorist by the UN. A permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has been repeatedly wielding its veto power to put a ban on the JeM leader under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council. JeM already features in the banned list.
All the other 14 members of the UN Security Council have been supporting India’s bid to place Azhar on the sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban. Evidently China has been trying not to displease its all-weather friend Pakistan. It is also piqued with India for giving refuge and protection to the Dalai Lama whom it considers “subversive” who had been demanding autonomous status for Tibet.
Incidentally only a few years ago another terrorist, the outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, had criticised Jinping’s word of caution against Islam to the people of China. The Chinese president had asked his countrymen to avoid Islam and to stick to the state ascribed policy of ‘Marxist Atheism’ . He had asked them to shun Islamic practices such as Halal products in order to stop the flow of Islamic influence in Pakistan bordering Xinjiang province. Hafiz Saeed has said that China was hurting its relations with Pakistan by making such statements.
Xi Jinping has emerged stronger after his re-election as his party’s general secretary and consequently the President. In fact he is now being considered as strong as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping were at the peak of their power. He is likely to guide the destiny of his country over a long period of time. He has made his resolve clear : “China is set to regain its might and re-ascend to the top of the world by 2050.”
The consolidation of his position has a direct bearing on India. He had carefully orchestrated the Doklam issue before his re-election and had hardened his stand on the border dispute with India. Despite the efforts of prime minister Narendra Modi to create harmony in relationships, Jinping had not been responding. In fact he may be closely looking at his fate in 2019 as a strong leader in India is not to the advantage of China.
With another term of five years guaranteed and the possibility of even further extension, he would do better by building bridges with India. Both the countries stand to gain with mutual cooperation and trade. China all the more as the balance of trade is heavily tilted in its favour.
It is, therefore, with his unchallenged power it becomes his responsibility that his country joins the efforts to subdue terrorism. As it can learn from its neighbour and good friend Pakistan, any effort to give protection to the terrorists or to use them against another country is counter productive. Pakistan is now also suffering due to terrorism it helped flourish and actively aided to grow evidently to take ‘revenge’ against India.
Terrorism is a menace that has singed most of the countries including the power United States. If Beijing thinks it can remain immune because of its strong arm tactics against those raising a voice, it may have to pay a very heavy price.