Pathankot attacks: US to press Pakistan to dismantle terror networks


Underlining the shared trauma of terror experienced by both India and the US, a senior US official has said that Washington will press Islamabad “to take the fight to all terrorist networks in the border region and do everything in their power to help India achieve justice for the Mumbai attacks.”

Speaking on “Democratic Values and Violent Extremism,” US Under Secretary For Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Sarah Sewall spoke about the problems faced by India due to terrorism. “We have also been brought together by the shared trauma of terrorism — from the attacks against the United States on 9/11 to the attacks in Mumbai on 26/11, to the recent bloodshed in Pathankot earlier this month,” Ms Sewall said at Vivekananda International Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank which wields influence with the ruling BJP dispensation.  

“We strongly condemn these attacks and express our deepest condolences to the victims and their families. We recognize that terror is too often on India’s doorstep,” Ms Sewall said.

Following the Pathankot terror attacks, US has stepped up the pressure on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice. In a tough message to Pakistan, Ms Sewall said: “the US will press Pakistan to take the fight to all terrorist networks in the border region and do everything in their power to help India achieve justice for the Mumbai attacks — which claimed both Indian and American lives. That is what partners do — we help each other overcome shared struggles and face hard truths.”

In the backdrop of increased terror attacks, India and US have been strengthening their cooperation in counter-terrorism. During the first Strategic and Commercial Dialogue held in Washington D.C in September 2015 between India and US, the two countries came out with a joint declaration on combating terrorism.

India and US have been cooperating on expanding intelligence sharing, cracking down on illicit terrorist financing. Listing out steps to counter terror, Ms Sewall spoke about addressing the forces that radicalize individuals to join extremist movements. More interaction and stronger partnership between government and civil society groups were also suggested.  

“Governments can help by ending stifling regulations on civil society and allowing citizen groups to peacefully speak and organize around sensitive topics. They can give them a real seat at the table in policy development and ensure they have access to the resources and information they need to fully contribute,” Ms Sewall added.

Ms Sewall also spoke about the need to bring extremist groups like IS to justice. “For India and the United States, the choices we make — the example we set — will influence the world in profound ways. So let us show the world that, as we bring justice to extremist groups like ISIL, we can prevent the next generation of threat from emerging by empowering our communities, embracing our diversity, and staying true to our common values.”


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