India faces a humiliating foreign policy defeat post Pulwama attack

India faces a humiliating foreign policy defeat post Pulwama attack

ISLAMABAD - China on Wednesday put on hold a request by Britain, France and the United States to add to the UN terror blacklist the leader of a Pakistan-based Islamist group behind a suicide attack in Kashmir, diplomats said.

It was the third time that the UN Security Council was considering a request to put Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), on the UN sanctions blacklist, which would subject him to a global travel ban and assets freeze.

Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops.

China has twice blocked -- in 2016 and 2017 -- attempts to impose sanctions on the JeM leader. The group itself was added to the terror list in 2001.

In a note sent to the council, China said it needed more time to examine the sanctions request targeting Masood Azhar, diplomats said.

India and Pakistan carried out air raids last month across their disputed Kashmir frontier in clashes that sent tensions soaring between the nuclear-armed countries.

India on February 26 staged an air raid on a camp inside Pakistan that it said belonged to JeM. One day later Pakistan responded with fighter jets crossing into Indian-administered Kashmir.

A pilot who was shot down over Pakistani territory was later sent back to India.

Islamabad announced last week that more than 100 militants, including many from JeM, had been detained, but India has greeted those statements with suspicion.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also recently denied in a television interview that JeM had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.

Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since their independence and angry division in 1947.

India has long accused its neighbor of supporting Kashmir rebels. Pakistan denies any role in attacks in the Indian side of the Himalayan region where tens of thousands have died in an armed insurgency since 1989. APP/AFP