Pulwama, Balakot made China change Azhar stance: BJP

New Delhi: Union Minister Arun Jaitley accompanied by Cabinet Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, addresses a press conference at the BJP's headquarters in New Delhi, on May 2, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here on Thursday said the classification of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was "a big victory" for India and its diplomacy under the Narendra Modi government. The Pulwama terror attack and subsequent air strikes played a role in changing China' stance, it added.

Addressing the media at the BJP central office, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Prime Minister Modi's zero-tolerance policy on terror had borne fruit. 

Jaitley said the core issue was Azhar had been declared an international terrorist. "And he and his country bear consequences of that," he said.

He said the change in China's attitude was a result of "recent developments including Pulwama attack" and the air strikes by India on terror camps at Balakot in Pakistan. "The global community has been persuaded by all the material that India had put forward and circulated," he said.

Jaitley said Azhar had been targeting India for a long time and was involved in several terror acts. The JeM also claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed.

The process to get Azhar blacklisted started in 2009, but India could not succeed due to China's technical objections during three earlier attempts, he said. 

Sitharaman said persistent measures by the Ministry of External Affairs under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi had led to Azhar's blacklisting. "Under international pressure and effect of India's diplomacy that hurdle was removed yesterday (Wednesday) and it has come as a big opportunity for India in its fight against terrorism," she said.

Sitharaman said as per the publicly available data, more than 35 declared terrorist organisations were located in Pakistan and the JeM was one of them.

The Finance Minister also took a dig at the Congress claim of conducting surgical strikes. "The Congress has been stating that it conducted surgical strikes. They were unknown, invisible surgical strikes," he said.

He said suspicions were raised after successful air strikes in Balakot and the blacklisting of Azhar was seen as no big deal. "Such trivial response comes. The tradition was that the country spoke in one voice on foreign and security policy. But it was destroyed in the past."

Referring to the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, Jaitley said a former service chief had then said they wanted to retaliate but the then Prime Minister said, "no".

"Within weeks of 26/11, 25 terrorists were released as a goodwill gesture, expecting Pakistan to cooperate. Forget cooperation, one of them Shahid Latif, released then, was involved in the Pathankot terror attack years later," Jaitley said.

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