Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi after China again blocked a move by the United Nations Security Council to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad’s chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist.
The terror outfit had claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir in which 40 security personnel were killed.
Gandhi claimed Modi was “weak” and “scared” of Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Weak Modi is scared of Xi,” he said in a tweet. “Not a word comes out of his mouth when China acts against India.”
Gandhi also took a jibe at Modi’s diplomacy with China, which he claimed included sitting with Xi on a swing at Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Ashram in 2014 and hugging the Chinese president.
China on Wednesday blocked the move by putting a technical hold on the proposal to ban Azhar. The proposal to designate him under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by the United States, the United Kingdom and France on February 27, two weeks after the Pulwama suicide bombing.
“With China having blocked our bid to designate Masood Azhar a global terrorist, the question on every Indian’s mind is, what was the use of all the swinging with Modi and President Xi,” the Congress said on its official Twitter handle. “A terrorist responsible for such bloody murders is let off the hook again by the BJP.”
Criticising the Modi-led government, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had called it a “sad day” in the global fight against terrorism. “China blocking Masood Azhar’s designation as a global terrorist reaffirms the Chinese position of being an inseparable ally of terrorism’s breeding ground – Pakistan,” Surjewala tweeted. “Sadly, Modiji’s foreign policy has been a series of diplomatic disasters.”
Gandhi has frequently criticised Modi on the topic, saying that a previous BJP-led government had let Azhar go back to Pakistan. India had to release Azhar and two other militants lodged in Indian jails to secure the lives of passengers held hostage on a hijacked Indian Airlines flight in December 1999.
Gandhi earlier also alleged that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, a top intelligence official back then, had “escorted” Azhar to Kandahar where he was handed over to terrorists.
‘Why is Rahul Gandhi feeling happy?’
Reacting to Gandhi’s tweet, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad inquired why the Congress chief felt happy when the entire country was in pain.
“Will the Congress speak in a different voice where a cruel killer like Masood Azhar is concerned?” Prasad said at a press conference. “From Rahul Gandhi’s tweet, it appears that he felt very happy. He must be making headlines in Pakistan.”
Prasad asked whether Gandhi had written a similar tweet when China in 2009 had also used a technical hold to defeat a bid to designate Azhar as a global terrorist. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was in power back then.
Prasad claimed that the current government was “undoing all mistakes” of the Gandhi family. “China wouldn’t be in the UNSC had your great grandfather not ‘gifted’ it to them at India’s cost,” he said, referring to former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. “India is undoing all mistakes of your family. Be assured that India will win the fight against terror.”
‘Failure of jhoola diplomacy’
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi told ANI that the development showed failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “jhoola [swing] diplomacy”. “This jhoola diplomacy is so fantastic that China refuses to cooperate in blacklisting this terrorist,” Owaisi said, in an apparent reference to a picture of Modi sitting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a swing at Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Ashram in 2014.
National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, meanwhile, addressed Prasad and claimed it was the BJP-led government that had given Pakistan “a big victory” by failing to hold Assembly elections in the state.
“If anyone is giving Pakistan a reason to celebrate, it isn’t Rahul Gandhi,” Abdullah said in a tweet. “Look closer to home sir.”
Abdullah claimed that Modi had surrendered to China on Azhar and capitulated to Pakistan and its proxies by delaying elections in Jammu and Kashmir. “How can the BJP claim to have been tough on internal security and tough against terror?”