China blocks UN vote to blacklist Pakistani leader of Jaish-e-Muhammad

China on Wednesday blocked a UN Security Council measure that would have blacklisted the Pakistani founder of Jaish-e-Muhammad, the militant group that nearly brought South Asia to the brink of war last month after one of its suicide bombers attacked Indian forces.

The vote was the council’s fourth attempt to blacklist the founder, Masood Azhar, in a decade and was proposed by France with the support of the United States and Britain. Since 2009, the Indian government has tried to designate Azhar as a global terrorist for orchestrating the 2001 attack on India’s parliament and the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which killed more than 160 tourists and local civilians.

But every attempt has been blocked by China, which has served as a shield for Pakistan internationally as the two countries strengthen their military and economic ties.

A spokesman for the Chinese mission at the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the decision, which came during a closed Security Council meeting. When China vetoed previous attempts to list Azhar, it claimed India had not provided enough information to support the designation, a claim that New Delhi denied.

As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has the authority to veto any measure. Its stance on Azhar has proved particularly frustrating to some council members.