New Delhi: India and the US strongly condemned cross border terrorism in all its forms and asked Pakistan to take “immediate, sustained and irreversible” action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for launching terror attacks.
The issue of cross-border terrorism figured in the third edition of the Indo-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue that discussed a plethora of security challenges facing India’s neighbourhood and beyond.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held the talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper. Both sides were assisted by their top army and security officials.
A joint statement issued after the talks said both sides denounced the use of terrorist proxies and strongly condemned cross border terrorism in all its forms while emphasising the need for concerted action against all terrorist networks, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, al-Qaeda and IS.
At a joint media briefing with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Mr Jaishankar said: “We made clear that cross-border terrorism is completely unacceptable.”
The joint statement said the ministers called on Pakistan to take immediate, sustained and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for launching terrorist attacks, and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators and planners of all such attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai, Uri, and Pathankot.
“The ministers also committed to continued exchange of information about sanctions and designations against terror groups and individuals, particularly in light of recent legislative changes in India,” it said.
The two sides also vowed to take steps against financing and operations of terrorist organisations, countering radicalism and terrorist use of the internet, cross-border movement of terrorists, and prosecuting, rehabilitating, and reintegrating returning terrorist fighters and family members, according to the statement.
It said the ministers also planned to enhance ongoing cooperation in multilateral fora, including at the UN.
“They also reaffirmed their support for the early adoption of a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that will advance and strengthen the framework for global cooperation and reinforce the message that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism,” it said.
In view of the announcement made during US President Donald Trump’s visit to India in February to establish a new India-US Counter-Narcotics Working Group, the ministers welcomed the proposal to convene the first such virtual meeting later this year, to be followed by an in-person meeting in 2021.
The aim of the meeting would be to enhance cooperation between Indian and US drug and law enforcement agencies.
In the talks, both sides also discussed their shared interest in promoting a sovereign, peaceful, united, democratic, inclusive, stable and secure Afghanistan, including support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
“They applauded India’s development assistance, and efforts to build trade linkages and multi-modal connectivity infrastructure for Afghanistan to enhance its regional connectivity to sustain growth and development over the long term,” the joint statement said.
It said the US congratulated India for its non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the term 2021-2022.
“The US also reaffirmed its continued strong support for India’s permanent membership in a reformed UNSC as well as for India’s early entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG),” it said.