Clinging to its pro-Pakistan stance, China has asserted that JeM chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar does not qualify to be nailed as a "terrorist" to face UN sanctions as his case "did not meet" the Security Council's requirements.
"Any listing would have to meet the requirements" for blacklisting, Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN Liu Jieyi told reporters yesterday in response to questions over China's decision to place a 'technical hold' on designating Azhar in the UN Sanctions Committee.
He, however, gave no further details.
Liu's comments came on a day when China, one of the five permanent members of the 15-nation Council, assumed the rotating presidency of the UNSC for April.
India has reacted strongly to China's blocking of its bid at the UN to ban the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief, saying that the sanctions committee was taking a "selective approach" in tackling terrorism.
In Beijing, also yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei defended China's decision, saying that it acts on such issues based on facts and rules in an "objective and just manner".
"We always deal with the listing issue (banning militant groups and their leaders) under the UN Security Council committee established under resolution 1267 based on facts and relevant rules of procedures in an objective and just manner.
"The Chinese side has always been in communication with relevant parties on the listing issue," he said, hinting that China is also in touch with India on the issue.
India yesterday said it is disappointed that a "technical hold" has been put on its application to include Azhar in the UN sanctions list, terming the move "incomprehensible" that this is despite the JeM being listed in the UN Security Council Committee as far back as 2001 for its known terror activities and links to the Al Qaeda.
This is not the first time China has blocked India's bid to get Pakistan-based militant groups and leaders proscribed by the UN.
The UN had banned the JeM in 2001 but India's efforts for a ban on Azhar after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack also did not fructify as China, that has veto powers, did not allow the ban apparently at the behest of Pakistan again.
Last July, China had similarly halted India's move in the UN to take action against Pakistan for its release of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, saying that its stand was "based on facts and in the spirit of objectiveness and fairness" with Beijing again claiming at the time that it was in touch with New Delhi.