USA move to withdraw GSP status will have minimal impact

USA move to withdraw Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) status will have minimal impact, says India

The Indian government on Tuesday downplayed the effect of the decision by the USA government to withdraw trade concessions granted to India under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), with Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan saying that the impact would amount to $190 million on total export amount of $5.6 billion to the US.

US move to withdraw GSP 

The US Trade Representative office on Tuesday morning (IST) said that it had decided to withdraw the GSP status for India and Turkey at the direction of US President Donald Trump following India’s “failure to provide the United States with assurances that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors”.

Image result for India“The withdrawal of GSP benefits to India will have a minimal and moderate impact,” Mr. Wadhawan said at a press conference. “The total GSP benefits amount to about $190 million on overall exports of $5.6 billion between the two countries.”

‘Additional requests not acceptable’

“We had worked out a meaningful package that covered the US’ concerns but they made additional requests which were not acceptable at this time,” he added. “The GSP system is envisaged as a non-reciprocal benefit to developing countries.”

Mr. Wadhawan added that India was still in talks with the US on the higher import duties that country charges on steel and aluminium, and said that India was still reviewing whether it would impose retaliatory tariffs or not. The government had in the middle of last year decided the list of items on which it would impose retaliatory tariffs, but has since then postponed the deadline of implementation six times. The latest deadline is April 1, 2019.

By US statute, the changes to the GSP status cannot take effect until at least 60 days after the notifications to the US Congress and the government of India, and will be enacted by a Presidential Proclamation.

NEW DELHI: , MARCH 05, 2019

US suspends over 1.1 billion USD assistance to Pakistan

Toughening its stance, US suspends over 1.1 billion USD assistance to Pakistan 

Toughening its stance, the US suspended more than USD 1.15 billion security assistance to Pakistan for failing to take “decisive actions” against terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network operating from its soil.

The freezing of all security assistance to Pakistan comes after President Donald Trump in a New Year’s Day tweet accused Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists in return for USD 33 billion aid over the last 15 years.

The suspended amount also include USD 255 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for the fiscal year 2016 as mandated by the Congress.

In addition, the Department of Defense has suspended the entire USD 900 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) money to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017 and other unspent moUS suspends over USD 1.1 bn assistance to Pak over terror groupsney from previous fiscal years.

“Today we can confirm that we are suspending national security assistance only, to Pakistan at this time until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters.

“We consider them (terror groups) to be destabilising the region and also targeting US personnel. The US will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan,” she said.

The US, she said, will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law.

In August, while unveiling his new South Asia strategy, Trump had accused Pakistan of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror,” and said the time had come “for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilisation, order, and to peace”.

Referring to Trump’s new strategy, Nauert said despite a sustained high-level engagement by Trump administration with the government of Pakistan, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilise Afghanistan and also attack the US and allied personnel.

Department of Defence Spokesperson Lt Col Mike Andrews told PTI that National Defense Authorisation Act 2017 provides up to USD 900 million for Pakistan in the CSF.

Of these funds, USD 400 million can only be released if the Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis certifies that the Pakistan government has taken specific actions against the Haqqani Network.

“At this stage all Fiscal Year 17 CSF have been suspended, so that’s the entire amount of USD 900 million,” Andrews said.

During an interaction with Pentagon reporters, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis did not respond to question if he was in favour of cutting off the aid to Pakistan.

“I prefer not to address that right now because it’s obviously still being formulated as policy. But I’ll give my advice on it to the president. I also agree on some confidentiality there,” he said.

According to a senior State Department official, no decision has been taken on the fate of USD 255 million security assistance to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017. The deadline for that is September 30 this year.

Mattis along with the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have travelled to Pakistan in recent months to deliver tough message to the leadership there. So, this action should not come as a surprise to them, Nauert said.

“They may say it’s a surprise, but what is no surprise is that the President has expressed his concerns, Secretary Tillerson has expressed his concerns, as has Secretary Mattis, and I imagine many other government officials having those conversations with Pakistan,” Nauert said.

Now, the money that has been suspended at this time does not mean that it will be suspended forever, she said.

“Pakistan has the ability to get this money back, in the future, but they have to take decisive action. They have to take decisive steps,” she added.

“People have long asked, why don’t you do more about Pakistan, and I think this sort of answers that question. Obviously, Pakistan is important, an important relationship to the US, because together we can work hard to combat terrorism. Perhaps no other country has suffered more from terrorism than Pakistan and many other countries in that part of the region,” she said.

“They understand that, but still they aren’t taking the steps that they need to take in order to fight terrorism,” she said.

In an interaction with reporters, two senior state department officials insisted that such a move is not a punishment, but to provide an incentive to Pakistan to take more action against terrorist groups.

“We have not done anything that’s irreversible here. All this funding is available to Pakistan, if they undertake to take the measures that we’ve asked of them,” a senior administration official said in response to a question.

“Pakistanis have repeatedly said we don’t care about this money. What matters I think to the Pakistani’s is that it is the symbolism of doing this that it represents a deterioration of our relationship that they care about a great deal,” the official said.

“So we were hoping that this is an incentive that they don’t want to see this relationship deteriorate any further and that they’re going to commit to working with us to try to find a way to put it on a more solid footing,” the official added.

The US and others have long complained that Pakistan gives safe haven to the Afghan Taliban and their allies, the Haqqani network, allowing them to carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Pakistan denies allegations but President Trump has escalated the criticism against the country since he took office.

The Pakistanis say they have suffered great losses from the longstanding war against Islamist networks and are furious that Trump has failed to acknowledge the role they have played.

Yesterday, the state department accused Pakistan of severe violations of religious freedom. It announced that it was placing Pakistan on a special watch list, pursuant to 2016 legislation. The step does not carry any serious consequences.

-PTI | 05 January 2018 | Washington

Indian-origin couple shot dead in US

Indian-origin couple shot dead in US

Mirza Tatlic, 24, fatally shot Naren Prabhu, a Silicon Valley tech executive, and his wife at their home in San Jose.

An Indian-origin couple has been killed in the US in an apparent revenge attack by their daughter’s ex-boyfriend who was eventually shot dead in a standoff with police.

Mirza Tatlic, 24, fatally shot Naren Prabhu, a Silicon Valley tech executive, and his wife at their home in San Jose, CBS San Francisco reported.

Prabhu’s daughter, who lives in another state, was not there.

“The suspect had been in a dating relationship with the victims adult daughter who was not home,” San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said.

“The relationship ended last year. The suspect had a history of domestic violence and there was an active criminal restraining order,” Garcia said.

The incident had been reported by the 20-year-old son of Prabhu.

“When officers arrived at the home on Laura Valle Lane they saw an adult man deceased in the front doorway suffering from at least one gunshot wound. Officers learnt from the adult son that his mother and 13-year-old brother along with the suspect were still inside the house,” police said

A standoff quickly developed with the suspect and a SWAT team was called in.

“As officers were setting up contain and arrest teams, the suspect released the 13-year-old boy,” Garcia said, adding that the suspect refused to surrender.

Officers then went into the house and found the two deceased victims and the dead suspect, Garcia said.

-May 6, 2017, Washington

US gives list of 271 ‘illegal’ Indians; India doesn’t accept

US gives list of 271 ‘illegal’ Indians; India doesn’t accept

us

 

The US has given a list of 271 people claiming they were illegal migrants from India, but the government has not accepted it and would allow their deportation only after proper verification, union minister Sushma Swaraj said today.

“We have not accepted this list and have sought more details. We have said that it is only after we verify the details, can we issue an emergency certificate for their deportation,” the External Affairs Minister said.

Addressing concerns by members during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, she said it would not be correct to say that there has been a change in the US policies after the Trump administration has come to power.

Several members expressed concern over the effects of the steps being taken by the Donald Trump administration on Indian citizens including skilled professionals living there.

 Referring to skilled workers, Swaraj said regarding H1B and L1 visas for professionals, four bills have come to the US Congress but they have not been passed.She said the government was engaging with the US at the highest level to ensure that the interests of Indian people or the IT industry are not affected.

“We are conveying to them that IT professionals are not stealing jobs but contributing to the US economy and making it stronger,” the Minister said.

Anand Sharma (Cong), while greeting Swaraj on her recovery after having been unwell, said it is important that skilled professionals are not confused with illegal migrants.

Swaraj said she had earlier stated that some Bills have been moved in the US, but the government was taking steps so that they are not passed in such a form. She said the Foreign Secretary had met US Congress members who had been all praise for Indians.

Even in 2012, a figure had come that 11.43 migrants lived there, of whom 2.60 lakh were Indians. “We did not accept the figure because it cannot be considered authentic without thorough verification,” she said.

She said “there are no authentic figures on the number of undocumented Indian immigrants in the US”, adding that the government provided travel documents only after the concerned person was conclusively identified as Indian.

“In case we don’t provide travel documents, they would be jailed,” Swaraj said, adding that from 2014 till date, 576 people have been provided travel documents.

Responding to questions on social security, she said these issues have been raised in the past and can be taken up again later “as you say right now a sword is hanging on jobs”.

On H1B visas, she said there have been “flip-flops” in the past and the number of these visas rose from 65,000 to 1.95 lakh and then again went down to 65,000. “It is not that all these changes have happened only after the Trump administration has taken over,” she said.

-March 23, 2017, New Delhi

Sikh man shooting in US: Kent Police calls it hate crime

Sikh man shooting in US: Kent Police calls it hate crime, offers USD 6,000 bounty on shooter

kent_shooting

 

Almost after a week, the police have released the sketch of the shooter, who is still absconding. The lone white shooter was about six feet tall, medium built and between 35 and 40 years of age.

The Sikh man was working on his vehicle outside his home in the city of Kent in the Washington state on Friday, when he was approached by a stranger, who walked up to the driveway, the Seattle Times reported.

Kent police said an argument broke out between the two men, with the victim saying the suspect made statements to the effect of “go back to your own country.”

The unidentified man then shot him in the arm.

The victim described the shooter as a six-foot-tall white man, wearing a mask covering the lower half of his face. Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas said while the Sikh man sustained “non life-threatening injuries”, they are “treating this as a very serious incident.”

The US authorities today admitted that the shooting of Sikh man of Indian origin was a hate crime. Police said that the Sikh man identified as Deep Rai (39) was shot outside his home in Washington by a partially-masked gunman who shouted ‘go back to your country’.

Almost after a week, the police have released the sketch of the shooter, who is still absconding. The lone white shooter was about six feet tall, medium built and between 35 and 40 years of age.

The police in suburban Seattle and the FBI have also sought the public’s help in the shooting incident.

Authorities said on Thursday that they’re offering a USD 6,000 reward and have set up a phone line for tips: 253-856-5808.

The victim was struck in the arm. Kent Police Commander Jarod Kasner said that they have not had reports of any similar incidents.

Police and the FBI have not identified a suspect but described him as a 6-foot-tall white man who came dressed in a dark hoodie, dark clothing and a mask covering the lower part of his face.

A suspect sketch shows the man with thick, dark eyebrows and brown eyes.

-, March 5, 2017 ,New York/New Delhi

Indian origin businessman shot dead in Lancaster, US

Days after Kansas shooting, Indian-origin businessman shot dead in Lancaster, US

indian business man

 Indian origin businessman shot dead in Lancaster, US

On Thursday night, Harnish Patel, 43, had closed his convenience store in Lancaster County, South Carolina, at 11.24 pm and barely 10 minutes later, he was shot dead outside his house, a media report said. The store is about 6 km from his house.

The incident took place two days after US President Donald Trump denounced the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas on February 22 and said the country “stands united in condemning hate and evil”.

Local officials in Lancaster, however, did not believe that Patel`s killing was a bias crime as investigations are on, The Herald reported

County Sheriff Barry Faile said on Friday that the Indian ethnicity of Patel does not appear to be a factor in the crime.

“I don’t have any reason to believe that this was racially motivated,” Faile said

In the February 22 Kansas killing, Kuchibhotla was shot dead by a man screaming, “Get out of my country”.

Another Indian Alok Madasani, who was with the victim at a bar, and an American, Ian Grillot, who tried to stop the shooting, were also shot and injured.

Adam Purinton, a white and a former Navy SEAL was arrested and charged with murder. He had reportedly said that he had shot two Iranians after shooting the Indians.

The hate crime was condemned by leaders in both the US and India.

In his State of the Union address to the joint session of the Congress on February 28, Trump said: “Last week`s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

Local WSOCTV said that in Lancaster there was a lot of anger over the killing of Patel, who was considered an important member of the community and a kind person who treated his customers as friends and helped law enforcement.

His store was close to the Sheriff`s office and deputies often frequented the store.

Faile said on TV that Patel was a “great family man” and a friend.

The station said that Patel was survived by his wife and child in elementary school, who were at home when he was killed.

People had created an impromptu shrine outside Patel`s Speed Mart store by leaving balloons and flowers in his memory, the station said. A sign on door read, “Store closed for few days because of family emergency. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

A tearful customer, Nicole Jones, told the station that when someone didn`t have money, Patel gave them food. “I would have no idea who would do this to him as good as he is to everybody,” she said.

A store employee, Keira Baskin, said that he only wanted the best for his employees and his family.

On Thursday night, a woman called the police and said that she heard screaming and gunshots and when sheriff`s deputies arrived there they found Patel dead from apparent gunshot wounds a few feet from his house, WBTV reported.

Police found two shell casings at the crime scene. A police dog could not pick up any scent to follow from there, WSOCTV reported.

 

 

 

-March 4, 2017, New York

 

 

 

 

US should have ‘farsighted’ view on skilled professionals

H1-B visa row: US should have ‘farsighted’ view on movement of skilled professionals, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday pressed the US to have a “balanced and farsighted perspective” on the movement of skilled professionals, remarks which came against the backdrop of the Trump Administration’s move to curb H1B visas that will hurt India.

H1-B visa row: US should have 'farsighted' view on movement of skilled professionals, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday pressed the US to have a “balanced and farsighted perspective” on the movement of skilled professionals, remarks which came against the backdrop of the Trump Administration’s move to curb H1B visas that will hurt India.

He made the comment while receiving a 26-member bi- partisan US Congressional delegation here.

Welcoming the Congressional Representatives to India, he said their visit augurs a good start to bilateral exchanges following the change in the US Administration and Congress.

He recalled his positive conversation with President Donald Trump and the shared commitment to further strengthen ties that have grown deeper in the last two and a half years.

In this regard, he recognized Congress’ strong bipartisan support for the India-US partnership, a PMO statement said.

Modi shared his perspective on areas where both countries can work even more closely, including in facilitating greater people-to-people linkages that have over the years helped contribute to each other’s prosperity.

“In this context, the Prime Minister referred to the role of skilled Indian talent in enriching the American economy and society” and “urged developing a reflective, balanced and farsighted perspective on movement of skilled professionals,” the statement said.

Soon after taking over last month, Trump had decided to overhaul the work visa programmes like the H-1B and L1, a move that will adversely hit the lifeline of Indian tech firms and professionals in the US.

At present, 65,000 H1B visas are issued by the US every year and Indians account for a major chunk in it.

-February 21, 2017, New Delhi

ISRO’s successful launch sets new standard in space race

ISRO’s successful record launch sets new standard in space race, says Chinese media

ISRO's successful record launch sets new standard in space race, says Chinese media

The Chinese media on Monday said that India’s recent successful record launch of 104 satellites has ramped up the space race, adding that it was a wake-up call for the country’s commercial space industry.

China may fast-track the commercialisation of its rocket launches after India’s success , Chinese-state run media quoted officials as saying in a report titled ‘India’s satellite launch ramps up space race’.

Zhang Yonghe, director with the new technology department of the Shanghai Engineering Centre for Microsatellites, believes that India did a better job promoting its launch services internationally than China, the report said.

“The launch indicated that India can send commercial satellites into space at lower costs, giving the country’s competitiveness in the global race for the burgeoning commercial space businesses,” Zhang Yonghe, director with the new technology department of the Shanghai Engineering Centre for Microsatellites, said.

Acknowledging that after reaching Mars ahead of China, India stole the march last week by putting 104 satellites into orbit from a single rocket, Zhang said, “China will likely fast-track the commercialisation of its rocket launches to vie for the world’s burgeoning small satellite launch market.

“The Wednesday’s launch is India’s latest triumph for its space programme,” a Global Times report said.

“In 2014, India became the fourth country to successfully send a spacecraft to orbit Mars, signalling a regional rivalry with China which suffered a failure in its Mars mission in 2012,” it said.

“Nearly all of its 103 smaller satellites are from other countries including Israel, Kazakhstan, Switzerland and the US,” it said.

After Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s successful feat, the Chinese daily, part of the ruling Communist Party of China publications, had said the achievement made Indians proud but it sought to belittle the significance saying that its impact is “limited”.

The state-run Global Times had earlier criticised India for its Mars mission overtaking China despite ‘millions of poor and illiterate people.

While praising the record launch as “India’s triumph”, today’s report also said “with respect to the research and development of both military and commercial rocket launch services, India lags behind China, the US and Russia”.

“India cannot match them yet unless it has enough rockets types to fulfil all satellites launches,” it quoted Zhang as saying.

Xue Lijun, general manager assistant of Shenzhen Aerospace Dongfanghong Development Ltd said that India’s launch on Wednesday is a breakthrough in terms of numbers, but not in technology.

“Technologically speaking, the launch did not have any big difficulties what [Indian engineers] need to do is to avoid the conflicts among satellites, which involves lots of calculation and data analysis, but is not a tough task,” Xue told the daily.

“The 104 satellites are mostly in the same orbit, indicating that India still lacks capabilities of sending multiple satellites into various orbits,” the report quoted the “experts” as saying.

Adding another cap to its feather, the Indian space agency created history last week by successfully placing 104 satellites in orbit, including the country’s Cartosat-2 earth observation satellite, on a single rocket.

ISRO’s February 15, 2017 mega launch was the highest number of satellites ever launched in a single mission.

-February 20, 2017 | PTI |New Delhi

 

ISRO successfully launching 104 satellites in single mission

ISRO sets world record by successfully launching 104 satellites in single missionISRO sets world record by successfully launching 104 satellites in single mission

Indian space agency ISRO on Wednesday morning scripted history by successfully launching a record 104 satellites, including country’s Cartosat-2 earth observation satellite, in a single mission from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

Exactly at 9:28 am, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37 carrying 104 satellites blasted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

About 28 minutes into the flight, PSLV first injected Cartosat-2 series satellite into orbit, followed by the other 103 nano satellites, including 96 from the US, in a gap of about 30 minutes.

This is the highest number of satellites ever launched in a single mission.

As the scientists at the Mission Control centre broke into cheers, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman A S Kiran Kumar announced: “All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit. My hearty congratulations to the entire ISRO team for the wonderful job they have done.”

ISRO’s new feat beat superpowers like Russia, which had launched 37 satellites in one go in 2014, and the US, which orbited 29 satellites in 2013.

Last year, ISRO had sucessfully launched 23 satellites in a single mission in June.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated team ISRO for the successful launch.

In today’s complex mission after the end of 28-hour countdown, the PSLV-C37 injected the 714 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite followed by ISRO’s nano satellites INS-1A and INS-1B in an 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

This was followed by launch of the other 101 nano satellites of overseas customers in blocks in a series of separations.

INS-1A and INS-1B will carry a total of four different payloads from Space Applications Centre (SAC) and Laboratory for Electro Optics Systems (LEOS) of ISRO for conducting various experiments, ISRO said

Cartosat-2 series satellite, with a mission life of five years, will send images that would cater to coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, distribution of water, creation of land use maps among others.

Of the 101 co-passenger foreign satellites, 96 belong to USA, five from international customers of ISRO including Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates.

Kiran Kumar also said that ISRO was enabling the MARS Orbiter Mission to survive a long eclipse duration after which it would function for at least 2-3 years unless “we encounter any more difficulties”.

“Now we are targeting GSLV MkII and then Mk III…A series of launch activities planned to ensure like last year this year also we have many exciting events coming,” he added.

PSLV-C37 Project Director B Jayakumar said it was a “great moment for each and everyone of us. It is confirmed all 104 satellites have been successfully deployed in the orbit.

“Launching 104 satellites onboard a single rocket was a complex mission. “But our teams came up with very good solutions. The integration part are also done very well by our team. It is enjoyable mission and excellent team work,” he said.

Satish Dhawan Space Centre Director P Kunhi Krishnan said the launch clearly reiterated ISRO’s capability in handling complex missions very professionally.

ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director K Sivan said it was a matter of national pride that the country had launched 104 satellites in one go using PSLV.

“It is one of the toughest missions we have handled,” he added.

So far the Indian space agency has launched 226 satellites, out of which 179 are from foreign nations.

-February 15, 2017,New Delhi

US moves UN to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar

Donald Trump backs India, US moves UN to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar

Donald Trump backs India, US moves UN to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar

In a significant development, the United States had moved the United Nations to ban Pathankot air base terror attack mastermind and Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief  Masood Azhar in the second half of last month.

The US, supported by the UK and France, had moved a proposal at the UN’s Sanctions Committee 1267 to proscribe Azhar.

However, China had opposed the move by US.

The Chinese action is said to have come just before the expiry of the 10-day deadline for any proposal to be adopted or blocked or to be put on hold.

UN Sanction Committee‘s listing would have imposed asset freeze and travel ban on Azhar by countries.

Earlier, on January 20, the then US Ambassador to India Richard Verma had said that any “objective reading” of India’s demand to designate Azhar a terrorist by the UN would lead one to support the case.

“We have to understand and work through what these objections are. Any objective reading of the case would lead one to support the designation (of Azhar by the UN Security Council),” Verma had told PTI in a telephonic interview on his last day in office in New Delhi.

He had said that US was disappointed that the issue has not got through the Security Council yet, but refrained from directly speaking on if China was “siding with terrorism” in this case.

China has repeatedly blocked India’s efforts to get the JeM chief banned by the world body.

China’s stand on Azhar:

On January 05, China had refuted Indian allegations that it had double standards on terrorism and had said that it took a “just” stand by blocking New Delhi`s bid to list Azhar as a global terrorist.

“Allegation that China adopts double standards on the UN Security Council 1267 committee listing matter does not stand. China takes action based on solid evidence that is the one standard we use,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang had said in Beijing, as per IANS.

Geng was responding to remarks by Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar on Azhar.

China was the only country among the 15-member Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council that objected to India`s application to list Azhar as a global terrorist.

India’s application to get Azhar banned had lapsed after two technical holds put up by China in the 1267 Committee.

The Chinese opposition is also seen by many as an action taken at the behest of its “all-weather ally” Pakistan.

After the attack on the IAF base in January last year, India in February had written to the UN calling for immediate action to list Azhar under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee.

The efforts faced stiff opposition by China, which twice put a “technical hold” before finally blocking the Indian proposal in December.

India on Azhar:

Reacting sharply to Chinese action, India had said, “we note with concern China’s decision to block the proposal to list Masood Azhar”, asserting that its proposal, submitted to the 15-member 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, had received the strong backing of all other members of the Committee.

External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had also said, “As a consequence of this decision, the UN Security Council has again been prevented from acting against the leader of a listed terrorist organisation. We had expected China would have been more understanding of the danger posed to all by terrorism and would join India and others in fighting the common challenge of terrorism.”

On December 19, NIA had filed a charge sheet in the Pathankot terror attack, naming Azhar and three others of his organisation as accused.

In a comprehensive chargesheet filed at Panchkula Special Court, NIA had highlighted the role of terror group in spreading mayhem in India and had referred to the nefarious plans of the outfit, sources had said, as per PTI.

The chargesheet which had also named Azhar’s brother Rauf Asghar as accused, had alleged that immediately after the Pathankot incident, he had hosted a video message claiming responsibility for the terror strike and had glorified the role of Azhar.

The Union Home Ministry had given sanction to NIA to file the charge sheet against Azhar, his brother and the two handlers – Qashif Jan and Shaid Latif – of the four terrorists, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The four terrorists, after entering India from Bamiyal area of Gurdaspur, had carried out the strike at the IAF base killing eight people including seven personnel of IAF and NSG.

The chargesheet had named four terrorists involved in the attack.

According to NIA, the terrorists, who were killed after two days of gunfight, were identified as Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum and they were residents of Vehari (Punjab), Gujranwala (Punjab), Sanghar (Sindh) and Sukkur (Sindh) of Pakistan respectively.

About Azhar:

Azhar, a resident of Bahawalpur in Pakistan, was one of the three terrorists freed by India in exchange of 166 hostages of Indian Airlines plane IC-814 which was hijacked to Kandahar in December 1999.

Azhar, at that time, belonged to Harkat-ul Mujahideen, and soon after his release, he floated the new outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan which carried out several attacks in India, including on Parliament on December 13, 2001 and Pathankot air base.

-February 7, 2017, New Delhi