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Milestone in The Diplomatic War on Terror, As Beijing Agrees To Declare JeM Chief Masood Azhar Terrorist

Work on it has been stuck on the most basic issue - defining terrorism, with some making a false distinction between "freedom-fighters" and terrorists. 

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Already, China has faced terror attacks in Pakistan, where its workers and resources have been targeted and even its consulate in Karachi attacked last year. Pixabay

China’s retreat from providing international protection for Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and its patron Islamabad, marks a milestone in the political and diplomatic war on terror with potential reverberations beyond the subcontinent.

For a decade Azhar was cast as the touchstone of Pakistan-China friendship and flag-bearer in a proxy war on India. That finally ended on Wednesday when Beijing wilted under growing international pressure and revulsion towards terrorism and agreed to the Security Council sanctions committee branding him the terrorist he is.

Totally isolating them, none of the other 191 other members of the UN – including some who advocate “your-terrorist-is-my-freedom-fighter” policy in other cases – had joined Pakistan and China in backing Azhar.

India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said that India’s persistent “subterranean” diplomacy helped achieve this.

Now the next milestone in the political and diplomatic war on terror – it is still only that, and not an all out war – will be a global one if that consensus against terrorism can be extended to the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that was proposed by India in 1996.

Work on it has been stuck on the most basic issue – defining terrorism, with some making a false distinction between “freedom-fighters” and terrorists.

It escapes them that the mark of terrorism is the method — wanton killing of civilians including children — and not the ideology.

Arriving on a consensus on the convention is the challenge before Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative Rohan Perera who heads the UN’s working group on eliminating international terrorism.

China’s turnabout, despite its words of sympathy for Islamabad, may force Pakistan to take a long-overdue inward look at its policy of classifying terrorists as bad and good – those creating mayhem within the country and those in India.

That schizophrenic policy has taken a toll on Pakistan, whose diplomats like to point out that their country has suffered the most from Islamist terror. Yet Islamabad – or specifically its military overlord – was willing to pay the price to keep its army of proxies.

For the world, that was too high a price.

Sri Lanka

And no doubt, the Sri Lanka suicide bomb massacres about a fortnight ago added to international community’s pressure on China. VOA

Pakistan’s strategic doctrine that its nuclear weapons provided immunity against Indian retaliation against its war by terror was tested in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack in February that killed more than 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.

While that attack itself stung the world, the Indian air retaliation against terror camps and Pakistan’s counter attack in which an Indian plane was downed showed the international community how fragile the situation is.

China had reluctantly gone along with a Security Council press statement condemning the Pulwama attack, which was short of a formal resolution, and it was expected that it might relent on Azhar. But it vetoed in March for the fourth time his listing as a terrorist by the sanctions committee that deals with al Qaeda, the Islamic State and their affiliates.

That re-energised the US, Britain and France to pursue the option of having the Security Council itself declare him a terrorist under sanctions of financial freeze and travel ban. They circulated a US draft resolution and lobbied hard, with Washington declaring it will utilise all available resources.

If that resolution were to come up, China would have had to publicly veto it and defend Azhar, which probably gave it pause.

China had claimed that it was not convinced by the evidence that Azhar was connected to terrorism, but suddenly it said the evidence it rejected was now convincing.

Besides its ties with India, the Afghanistan developments were another incentive for Washington. With negotiations taking place with the Taliban for a settlement, the US would want a complete wind down of terrorism in the region to protect Afghanistan, and also to ensure that Pakistan does not turn its other proxies fighting Afghanistan towards India.

As for China, it was time to recognise its own risks. It has an Islamist terror problem in the Uighar region and beyond, and its support to JeM and Azhar was not buying it goodwill with them. As its One Road, One Belt initiative advances, Beijing will have to ensure the safety of its multi-billion-dollar investments along it, while ensuring that pan-Islamist terror does not ply the road.

Already, China has faced terror attacks in Pakistan, where its workers and resources have been targeted and even its consulate in Karachi attacked last year.

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Arriving on a consensus on the convention is the challenge before Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative Rohan Perera who heads the UN’s working group on eliminating international terrorism.
Pixabay

Under these circumstances, it had to come out openly against all forms of terrorism if it were to credibly protect its investments elsewhere and even itself. This was the moment for it.

Even afar in Sri Lanka, where it has billions invested and loaned, China saw Islamist terrorism’s potential to disrupt the island’s stability with consequences for it.

And no doubt, the Sri Lanka suicide bomb massacres about a fortnight ago added to international community’s pressure on China.

Sanctions committee chair Dian Triansyah Djani, a soft-spoken Indonesian diplomat with a self-deprecating sense of humour, was able to deftly coalesce these developments into a consensus against Azhar.

Also Read: How China Uses a Mobile App to Spy on Ethnic Minority? Read Here To Find Out

On the subcontinent, Pakistan now faces the stark choice of complying with the sanctions against Azhar – and those imposed earlier on JeM and Laskhar-e-Tayyiba – or continuing to defy international opinion, perhaps by even spawning new proxies.

Perhaps if China has had a true change of heart, it could move Islamabad away from the proxy war. Then in a post-election India there may be an opportunity for a fresh start having met New Delhi’s prime condition of abandoning terrorism. (IANS)

Next Story

Can Huawei’s HarmonyOS be Successful Outside China?

Can Huawei pull off its HarmonyOS outside China?

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A possible alternative to Android and iOS is finally here -- in Huawei HarmonyOS. Pixabay

Over the last decade, the smartphone operating system (OS) business has become a duopoly. Either you have Apples iPhones running on iOS or a device powered by Googles Android.

A possible alternative to Android and iOS is finally here — in Huawei HarmonyOS. Can it win the love of consumers who are on Android or iOS for years? According to Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint Research, it won’t be easy for Huawei to break the duopoly of Apple and Google. Beyond China, there are two key challenges for Harmony OS in the global market.

“Firstly, to attract global developers to optimize apps for HarmonyOS and integrate other monetization options via Harmony software development kit (SDKs) at scale. This is something other OS providers were not able to do — for example Microsoft with Windows Phone,” Shah told IANS.

“Secondly, from a smartphones perspective, it is not fully complete until HarmonyOS features quality, diverse apps, AI, services, user-experience, support for multiple technologies, and ad platform integration, with respect to Android Google Mobile Services (GMS),” he explained.

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Developing an ecosystem of partners and developers to create applications and services for a platform is hard. Pixabay

Building and maintaining app stores in each country along with localization options, developer support, GDPR guidelines and security scanning, all with huge overheads, is a massive undertaking. “Further, issuing regular security patches and software updates, while the platform is open to millions of disparate devices, will be resource-intensive and costly,” said Shah.

Working with different global operators is going to be another challenge if the value is just captured by Huawei or close partners. At some point, to maintain openness and scale, Huawei will have to spin off HarmonyOS into a separate entity to drive the growth of the platform. According to Julie Ask, Vice President and Principal Analyst, eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals at Forrester, it’s a smart and long-overdue move by Huawei.

“The owner of the operating systems on smartphones (and a host of other devices) has far more market power than simply hardware manufacturers. Fundamentally, it’s a window or data and insights on every user of that phone – even if just under the pretense of collecting data to improve the product in the long term,” Ask told IANS. The open question is: Can Huawei pull it off?

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Necessity is the mother of invention applies well to Huawei. Pixabay

“Samsung has tried. Nokia (and employees of Nokia) tried. Developing an ecosystem of partners and developers to create applications and services for a platform is hard. While hard, Huawei has the advantages of a large home marketing (China) plus some financial freedom to pursue a large – and what could be long-term strategic initiative like this,” she elaborated. Could the HarmonyOS be a threat to other OS developed by the US companies like Google?

“In China, yes. Because China has a unique digital ecosystem that foreign Internet companies like Google don’t have the advantages to adapt to it very well,” said Xiaofeng Wang, Senior Analyst at Forrester.

Being a local Chinese company/brand, it would be easier for Huawei/HarmonyOS to build a well-rounded mobile ecosystem given its familiarity of the digital ecosystem there and the large scale of Huawei’s mobile phone penetration. “Plus, Chinese consumers are growing preferences on home-grown brands; and Chinese brands are doing better in marketing and engaging with Chinese consumers,” Wang told IANS.

Also Read: Alexandre Aja’s Love for Horror Lead to Great Success

Shah added: “Necessity is the mother of invention applies well to Huawei, though it will have to remain inventive and prudent on how to scale outside China if forced to, and make sure it has everything in place it is in harmony with the industry and consumers.” The Chinese conglomerate has indicated that it won’t be migrating to HarmonyOS for smartphones, unless it is completely cut-off from Google Android’s access outside China.

When the time is right, and Huawei has more developers working on HarmonyOS, they might take full advantage of the scalability of the micro-kernel architecture the OS provides. (IANS)