Marking a meeting of minds on a host of pressing issues, India and the US have decided to step their counter-terror cooperation, with Washington strongly backing India by renewing call to Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai and Pathankot terror attacks to justice.
The second Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between India and the US ended on a high note, with both sides upbeat about the blossoming of bilateral relations in all spheres and underlining their resolve to take this strategic partnership to new heights.
The US’ robust backing on India’s concerns over Pakistan-sponsored terrorism was music to New Delhi’s ears. “The US supports all efforts to brining the perpetrators of the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to justice… terror is terror no matter where it comes from,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry in New Delhi on August 30, after wide-ranging talks with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The two strategic partners also reiterated their resolve to intensify counter-terror cooperation. They will intensify intelligence sharing and specifically “work for the early operationalization of an agreement on exchanging information on known or suspected terrorists,” said Mrs Swaraj. The two sides also signed a framework agreement on combating cyber crimes.
“Secretary Kerry and I discussed at length the issue of terrorism, which is the key challenge to the international community, and the foremost threat to international peace and security. I am happy to note that there was a “meeting of minds” on this issue,” stressed Sushma Swaraj. “I briefed Secretary Kerry on the continuing problem of cross-border terrorism that India and the larger region faces from Pakistan. We both agreed that nations must not maintain double standards, such as the categorization of good and bad terrorists, nor must they act as sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorist organizations,” she said.
“We reaffirmed the urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminal networks including Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and D Company. Secretary Kerry and I also agreed on the need for Pakistan to do more to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice quickly.”
The “intensity of the bilateral relationship is unprecedented,” said Mrs Swaraj.
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