A terror strike by Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed killed at least 40 India paramilitary police and injured many others in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, Indian media reported. Blind anger toward China was ignited after it.
Some Indian analysts sought to link the deadly attack to “China’s continued protection” of the perpetrators. By refusing to back India’s appeal to list Masood Azhar, leader of terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, as a global terrorist by the UN, they argued, China is supporting terrorism against India.
Citing China’s refusal to support the bid to have Azhar blacklisted by the UN, India in recent years has aggressively blamed China for allying with Pakistan in shielding terrorists. It disregards the fact that as a victim of terrorism itself, China has pledged to support the international community’s anti-terrorism efforts and stands ready to work with India and all other countries to fight terrorism.
As for the issue of listing Azhar, Beijing has reiterated its stand several times that New Delhi should provide solid facts and proofs for banning Azhar. China has reason to cautiously handle the issue. Observers worry that blacklisting Azhar could be used by India to increase its military pressure on Pakistan, thus risking exacerbating tensions between the two countries.
With the proscription of Azhar becoming a contentious issue that impedes China-India relations, some Chinese scholars advise that China take India’s concern more into account. But Liu Zongyi, a senior fellow of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times that India should, first of all, mind its approach. Should New Delhi resort to quiet diplomacy instead of extensively directing aggressive rhetoric to pressure Beijing, the Azhar issue could have been better addressed.
Terrorism in India poses a significant threat to Indians. Without solid evidence, India has long accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorist attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammed and other militant groups and China of providing uncritical support for Pakistan. Instead of simply blaming other countries, especially Pakistan and China, shouldn’t the Indian government make more self-introspection on its anti-terrorism policy and dwell more on how to better administer the India-controlled part of Kashmir?
China and Pakistan are not enemies of India in countering terrorism. Despite the India-Pakistan dispute, New Delhi has common interests in fighting terrorism with Islamabad and Beijing. It’s suggested India abandon suspicions and the three countries enhance consultations on regional security and strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation. Last August for the first time the militaries of India and Pakistan took part in a mega anti-terror drill of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Russia aimed at expanding cooperation among member countries to deal with the growing menace of terrorism and extremism. Such momentum shouldn’t be disrupted.
With the approaching general election in India, nationalism could be easily fanned and used by politicians to woo support. Blaming China and Pakistan for the terrorist attack will arouse Indians’ anxieties over neighboring countries. A tough stance by the BJP government may help the ruling party win more support. But this will risk anti-terrorism cooperation being sabotaged for the political interests of parties in India.