Justifying China's latest block on a proposed ban on Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar in the United Nations, China's state media today said that India is merely trying to increase "military pressure" on Pakistan by repeatedly using the alibi of "counterterrorism crusade."
An editorial in a state-run Global Times warned that the move may bring "other players" in the region.
"India has its own reasons to have listed Azhar as terrorist. However, observers are also worried that under the defence of counterterrorism crusade, India can increase its military pressure on Pakistan, thus risking escalating tensions between the two countries," the newspaper said today.
The commentary comes just a day after China defended its decision to block the US' proposal in the UN for designating Pathankot attack mastermind and JeM chief Azhar as a global terrorist, saying the "conditions" have not yet been met for Beijing to back the move.
“Chinese analysts said they believe India did not provide enough evidence to support its proposals as evidence is required not only because of the need to maintain the UN’s authority, but also because of the complexities in the region,” the editorial said on the proposal in the UN.
"The India-Pakistan has been a thorny issue in South Asia for a long time and China is caught in the middle, given geographic and geopolitical proximity to the two," the daily said without mentioning China's all weather ties with Pakistan.
"The failure to bring the two on the path to peace underscores their different domestic and diplomatic trajectories. Any action the UN takes should assist the peace process rather than escalating tensions between the two countries," the editorial said.
Interestingly, the editorial can only be read in the print edition as internet link to it was blocked.
The newspaper portrayed China as a victim of the Indian media.
“What is troublesome is some Indian media view China with prejudice and overly interpret China’s moves especially after China and Pakistan hastened the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project,” the editorial said.
“Unlike Indian media’s criticism of China’s veto, Pakistani media reported that people in the country welcome the news, which reflects the deep divisions among people in the two countries," it said.
Projecting an enlarged role for Beijing in the tensions between India and Pakistan, it said "as a responsible power China must help maintain regional order".
It said China is aware that terrorism is a burning issue.
"China has also set up anti-terror mechanism with India but regional peace and stability will always be a priority," it said.
"Any India-Pakistan confrontation may bring other players into the region, which would complicate the situation," it said without naming "other players".
Significantly for China, the resolution to ban Azhar in the Al-Qaeda related 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council was moved this time by the US and backed by other UNSC permanent members like UK and France unlike last year when India moved the application which was backed by all members except China.
However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang yesterday while defending China's technical hold, played down US move to directly moving the resolution for the ban on Azhar.