India said on Thursday that it is regrettable that in the United Nations Security Council, when it comes to sanctioning some of the world's most dreaded terrorists, impunity is being facilitated and politics providing cover to evade accountability, in a veiled jibe at China which has blocked blacklisting of Pakistan-based terrorists on many occasions.
"The fight against impunity is critical to the larger pursuit of securing peace and justice. The Security Council must send an unambiguous and unequivocal message on this count," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told the 15-nation UN Security Council briefing on Ukraine 'Fight against impunity'.
The briefing, chaired by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, was held Thursday as world leaders gathered in the UN headquarters for the high-level 77th session of the UN General Assembly.
Addressing the Council briefing were UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly and Foreign Ministers of other UNSC members.
"Politics should never ever provide cover to evade accountability. Nor indeed to facilitate impunity. Regrettably, we have seen this of late in this very Chamber, when it comes to sanctioning of some of the world's most dreaded terrorists," Jaishankar said, with China listening.
"If egregious attacks committed in broad daylight are left unpunished, this Council must reflect on the signals we are sending on impunity. There must be consistency if we are to ensure credibility," he said.
Bids by India, US and other western allies to blacklist Pakistan-based terrorists under the Security Council's sanctions regime have been blocked and put on hold on various occasions by Islamabad's all-weather ally and veto wielding permanent member China in the 15-nation Council.
This month, China has put a hold on a proposal moved at the United Nations by the US and co-supported by India to designate Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Sajid Mir, wanted for his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, as a global terrorist.
It is learnt that Beijing put a hold on the proposal moved by the US and co-designated by India to blacklist Mir under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council as a global terrorist and subject him to assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.
Last month, China had put a hold on a proposal by the US and India at the United Nations to blacklist Abdul Rauf Azhar, the brother of Jaish-e Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and a senior leader of the Pakistan-based terror organisation. Abdul Rauf, born in 1974 in Pakistan, was sanctioned by the US in December 2010.
In June this year, China had put a hold, at the last moment, on a joint proposal by India and the US to list Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki under the 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.
Jaishankar emphasised that even in conflict situations, there can be no justification for violation of human rights or of international law. "Where any such acts occur, it is imperative that they are investigated in an objective and independent manner," he said, adding that this was the position that India took with regard to the killings in Bucha.
"This is the position we take even today. The Council will also recall that we had then supported calls for an independent investigation into the Bucha incident," he said.
India had in April this year unequivocally condemned the "deeply disturbing" reports of civilian killings in the Ukrainian city of Bucha and supported the call for an independent investigation, as it underlined that when innocent human lives are at stake, diplomacy must prevail as the only viable option.
Images and videos of people lying dead on the streets of Bucha, some with their hands tied behind them, had drawn global condemnation and calls for investigation and tougher actions against Russia.