The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday said France has approached the European Union to designate Masood Azhar, the chief of terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad, as a global terrorist. The 28-member bloc is expected to take a decision based on the principle of consensus.
“France has issued a statement regarding the internal listing of Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters. “In a telephonic conversation that French foreign minister had with the External Affairs Minister, he had indicated that France will take up the matter with the EU....France has taken up the matter.”
He added: “We understand that the EU will take its decision once their process of designating a terrorist is complete...It has to be a unanimous decision which will involve all the countries of the EU.”
The move came a week after China blocked a bid at the United Nations Security Council to blacklist Azhar.
The Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit had claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir in which 40 security personnel were killed. Two weeks after the suicide bombing, the United States, the United Kingdom and France had moved a fresh proposal at the UN Security Council to blacklist Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee. However, China blocked the proposal.
According to the listing rules of the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee, the UNSC’s decision will be considered adopted if no objection is received by the end of the period. If accepted, the sanctions will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo.
China is a permanent member of the Security Council. It had previously prevented the Security Council’s Islamic State and al Qaeda sanctions committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017. On February 15, a day after the Pulwama attack, China had refused to back India’s appeal at the UN to designate Azhar a global terrorist.