Masood Azhar UN Ban: Rahul Gandhi hit out at PM Narendra Modi (PTI File Photo)
China's move to block the UN Security Council resolution to designate Jaish-e Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist, has provided the Congress with ammunition against the government. Today, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, labelling him as "weak". His party said PM Modi's foreign policy has been a series of "diplomatic disasters". This was the fourth time in a decade that China, a strategic ally of Pakistan, came to the rescue of Masood Azhar, whose terror organisation was banned by the UN in 2001.
A veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, Beijing made a last-minute objection yesterday to the resolution that was backed by an unprecedented number of countries. Sources said the figure went into "double digits".
This morning, Mr Gandhi tweeted:
Since the Jaish suicide attack on Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, in which 40 soldiers died, the Congress has repeatedly reminded the government that it was another BJP-led government that had released Masood Azhar in exchange for the passengers of a hijacked Indian plane in 1999.
PM Modi's new diplomatic initiative with China -- under which he hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in India and attended a summit meeting in Wuhan -- has come under attack since China blocked the last effort to ban Masood Azhar in 2016, shortly after the Jaish attack on the Pathankot air base.
At the time, India had lodged a strong protest, saying China's move was "incomprehensible".
This time, the government said it was "disappointed by this outcome" and will "continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice".
After the face-off with China over Doklam, the Congress accused the government of compromising national interests.
"It is most unfortunate that the Modi government has been caught snoozing while the Chinese have occupied the Doklam plateau as per news reports and satellite imagery," senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala had said in January last year.