Should Chinese products be banned in India?

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Paris: France on Friday chose to freeze assets belonging to Masood Azhar, chief of terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), the French government confirmed.

It was the fourth time that the UN Security Council was considering a request to put Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), on the UN sanctions blacklist, which would subject him to a global travel ban, an assets freeze and an arms embargo. However, on all occasions China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee.

Masood Azhar, who founded JeM in 1999, is now believed to be the coordinator of the February 14 suicide bomb attack in Kashmir in which 40 Indian troops were killed.

On Monday, India and the USA called on Pakistan to take "concerted action" to dismantle terror infrastructure and deny safe haven to all terror groups, reflecting the growing pressure on Islamabad to crack down on terror after the Pulwama suicide bombing.

In the highly surcharged pre-election scenario in India, the Opposition instantly pointed out the Modi government's "diplomatic disaster" with Congress party leader Mr Rahul Gandhi tweeting "Swing with Xi in Gujarat, Hug Xi in Delhi, Bow to Xi in China".

Azhar founded Jaish-e-Muhammed, or the Army of Mohammed, in 2000 in Pakistan and has used the group to funnel weapons, cash and other support to the Taliban and al-Qaida, according to the United States. "NoMo's China Diplomacy: 1".

"France has always been and always will be by India's side in the fight against terrorism", the statement said.

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In retaliation for the Pulwama terror attack, for which JeM claimed responsibility, India launched air strikes across the Line of Control against Pakistan, which retaliated in similar fashion.

The action was a response to a Chinese vote at the United Nations blocking the description of a radical Muslim leader in the disputed area of Kashmir as a terrorist. The director took to Twitter, suggesting to not release Indian films in China.

India has always been frustrated by the repeated block exercised by Pakistan's close ally, Beijing, on its decade-long effort to blacklist Masood Azhar.

The comments, seen as veiled criticism of Beijing, came a day after China blocked listing Azhar as a global terrorist by the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.

"This is in line with the rules of the committee and China sincerely hopes that relevant action taken by this committee will help relevant countries to engage in dialogue and consultation and prevent adding more complicated factors into regional peace and stability", he was quoted as saying by media reports.

India is in the throes of an election campaign and, in the politically charged atmosphere, China's decision has become an issue with the opposition Congress president Rahul Gandhi labelling it as a diplomatic failure on the part of the government.

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