Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election bid received a big fillip on Wednesday after a UN Security Council committee blacklisted Masood Azhar, the head of a Pakistan-based militant group, a decade after New Delhi first demanded such an action.
Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack in Indian-administered Kashmir in February that killed 40 Indian paramilitary police. JeM was also blamed for a high-profile attack on India’s parliament in 2001, and local media often calls Azhar the country’s “enemy No. 1”.
In response to the suicide attack in Kashmir, which is also claimed by Pakistan, Modi sent warplanes into the nuclear-armed neighbour to bomb what New Delhi called a militant camp.
Modi has since made national security the main plank in the country’s 39-day general election that began on April 11. Results will be out on May 23, and political analysts said the news on Azhar will further energise the massive cadre of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“The world can’t anymore ignore the voice of 1.3 billion Indians,” Modi said at an election rally, calling the UN decision a great diplomatic victory for the country. “This is only a beginning.”
Beijing said on Wednesday it had no objections to Azhar’s listing after studying revised proposals at UN.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said yesterday India will ask Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to put Pakistan on a blacklist of countries that fail to meet international standards in stopping financial crime.