India, US to fast-track process to combat terrorism

India has been pitching for the finalisation of an anti-terrorism treaty, the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), which was proposed by India in 1996 to ban terrorists and make it binding for countries to deny funds and safe haven to them. With the rise of terror outfits like the Islamic State, India feels a global anti-terror treaty like CCIT would help in combating terrorism. India and US have decided to advance and strengthen the framework for global cooperation by reaffirming their support for a UN Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism. This was stated in a joint declaration released at the end of the first India US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. Reiterating the threat posed by entities such as Al-Qaeda, Haqqani network, D Company in South Asia, which undermine stability in South Asia, the two countries emphasised on asking Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. With the growing rise of Islamic State and the threat it poses to global security, India and US affirmed efforts to defeat this threat in accordance with the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2178, 2170 and 2199.

The two countries applauded the completion of 15 years of the US-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group and the provision of Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) training for more than 1,100 Indian security personnel since 2009. The initiative had brought the two countries closer in the realm of security cooperation.

Focusing on the recent terror attacks in India, the joint statement read “we strongly condemn the July 27, 2015 terrorist attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab and the August 5, 2015 attack in Udhampur, Kashmir.” US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated that the US hoped India would join the fight against the Islamic State, the jihadist outfit that controls parts of Syria and Iraq, and he said “India has pledged to be a key partner in the conversations surrounding the global fight against IS and I am grateful to them.” The crisis in Syria has led to a huge exodus of Syrians looking for refuge in other countries especially the European Union.

The two countries are also looking to finalise a bilateral agreement that would expand intelligence sharing and terrorist watch list information. Following the US-India Cyber Security Dialogue in 2015, India and the US have decided to continue their close cooperation on cyber security and information sharing.

India’s firm stance on fighting terror also appears to be a recognition of India’s rising global stature. Appreciating India, Mr Kerry acknowledged India’s participation in other global collaborative efforts including a new bilateral troop-training initiative in six African countries that are sending peacekeepers to the UN.

Some of the other details discussed in the joint declaration included India’s entry into the US Department of Homeland Security Global Entry Program, inclusion of Mumbai in the Strong Cities Network, a forum to build sub-national resiliency against violent extremism. US-India Megacity Policing Exchange, an initiative to deepen collaboration on training and community policing between local and state law enforcement also figured in the talks. At a time when major cities in India and US are said to be terror targets, the two countries have decided to enhance cooperation between the police forces and an MoU has been proposed between the Indian National Police Academy (Hyderabad, India) and the New York Police Department.














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