Obama declares war on IS militants: India, US to step up counter-terror cooperation

ObamaNEW YORK: US President Barack Obama’s declaration of war on The Islamic State, the terrorist machine’s network of death that has unleashed mayhem in the Middle East, should be noted positively by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be looking to step up counter-terror cooperation during his summit meeting with the American president.

Amid the roiling ferment in the Middle East, the region that is pivotal to India’s energy security and is home to over 7 million Indians, intensifying counter-terror cooperation with the US will be high on the agenda when Mr Modi meets Mr Obama for full-spectrum talks in Washington on September 30.

The volatile situation in the AfPak region against the backdrop of the conflicted transition process in Afghanistan will add a trenchant element to counter-terror discussions that the two leaders are expected to have in Washington. Both India and the US have huge stakes in ensuring the stability of Afghanistan in the post-2014 transformational decade and will be looking to step up cooperation in dismantling safe havens of terror in the AfPak region.

Indicating a toughening of stand against the resurgence of virulent terror outfits in the Middle East, President Obama’s speech at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly on September 24 underlined that Washington will be looking to forge afresh a global anti-terror coalition to wipe out the Islamic State, which looks set to be an abiding preoccupation during the rest of his presidency.

_77786519_77786513“Today, I ask the world to join in this effort,” Mr. Obama said at the UNGA, two days after  ordering airstrikes on a slew of militant targets in Syria.

“Those who have joined the ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can,” Mr. Obama said in a dire warning to the militant group’s backers.  “For we will not succumb to threats, and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy.” The brutality of the militants, he stressed, “forces us to look into the heart of darkness.”

Mr Obama’s speech underscored his determined bid to restore the US leadership in an increasingly turbulent world plagued by a host of crises that call for intensified cross-cutting cooperation.

This was reflected in  a leaders’ session of the United Nations Security Council, which unanimously passed a resolution requiring countries to pass laws against traveling abroad to join terrorist groups or financing those hideous activities.

“If there was ever a challenge in our interconnected world that cannot be met by one nation alone, it is this, terrorists crossing borders and threatening to unleash unspeakable violence.”

Modi ObamaThis hardening of stance by the US against the scourge of Islamist militancy is good news for India as the latter has been at the receiving end of savage terror strikes engineered by ideology-muddled militants. India’s security establishment is grappling with implications of al-Qaeda launching a South Asia wing with its primary focus on India. Issues relating to assorted terrorist outfits, which pose a common threat to the world’s largest democracies, will figure prominently in discussions between the leaders of the two countries in the White House September 30. India is hoping that the US works around procedural niceties to step up intelligence-sharing with India in real time.

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Manish Chand
Manish Chand
Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.