India and the US today vowed to strengthen cooperation against terror outfits like Jaish-e- Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba and D-Company, while urging Pakistan to ensure that its soil is not used for terror strikes against other nations.
In a joint statement released after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, the two nations also called on Islamabad to “expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan- based groups.”
Briefing reporters on the meeting, Foreign Secretary, S Jaishankar said counter-terrorism was a major issue that was discussed between Trump and Modi during the day.
On the reference to Pakistan, he said the joint statement could not have been more explicit on the issue of cross border-terrorism being perpetrated by terror groups from the neighbouring country’s soil.
“There was a broad and extensive discussion on Pakistan.
On certain issues it was very detailed,” he said, adding that there was a converging viewpoint of what is the problem and diagnose the problem.
In another strong reference to Pakistan, Jaishankar said there was an extensive discussion between the two leaders on terrorism, “what its epicenter is” and how it is affecting the region, particularly the South Asian region where India is located.
“It is not just an India situation. A lot of the discussions also related to what was happening in Afghanistan,” he said.
Resolving to fight together against this grave challenge to humanity, the two leaders announced increased cooperation “to prevent terrorist travel and to disrupt global recruitment efforts by expanding intelligence-sharing and operational- level counter-terrorism cooperation.”
The statement said that the two leaders committed to strengthen cooperation against terror threats from groups including Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, D-Company and their affiliates.
The two leaders recognised that terrorism is a “global scourge” which must be fought and terrorist safe havens rooted out in every part of the world.
Jaishankar said the designation of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin by the US as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist “is a strong signal coming out of the administration that it is committed to ending terror in all forms.”
“We should take the step for what it is. It is fixing responsibility, highlighting the problem. There is a signalling out of it, it is focusing on a particular group and particular individual. None of us can really miss that message,” he said.
The two sides also agreed to have a new consultation mechanism on domestic and international terrorist designations and listing proposals.
Modi and Trump welcomed the exchange of information on known and suspected terrorists for travel screening.
“They further resolved to strengthen information exchange on plans, movements and linkages of terrorist groups and their leaders, as well as on raising and moving of funds by terrorist groups,” the statement said.
The leaders affirmed their support for a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that will advance and strengthen the framework for global collaboration and reinforce the message that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.
“They also pledged to work together to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors,” the statement said.
Jaishankar also said there were discussions on issues in the Indian Ocean region, Middle-East in the context of security, and on Afghanistan, particularly the US policy review on it.
“On Afghanistan, the prime minister expressed our appreciation of the sacrifices that America has made to strengthen democracy in the country. On the Indian Ocean, we emphasized the importance of rule of law, requirement to follow international norms and ensure freedom of navigation,” he said.
The White House, in a fact sheet, said that the United States and India are committed to combatting terrorism in all its forms and to strengthening cooperation on terrorist screening, intelligence, and information sharing, terrorist use of the internet, and multilateral terrorist designations.
“Reflecting this partnership, the US Terrorist Screening Center and Indian counterparts are cross-screening known and suspected terrorists for investigative and intelligence purposes,” the White House said.