US, India vow to disrupt Lashkar-i-Taiba, Al Qaeda

August 01, 2014

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US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media following a meeting with Indian External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj during his visit in New Delhi on July 31, 2014. — AFP
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media following a meeting with Indian External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj during his visit in New Delhi on July 31, 2014. — AFP

WASHINGTON: In a major display of solidarity with India, the United States has equated Lashkar-i-Taiba with Al Qaeda, pledging to work with India to disrupt both.

In a joint statement issued simultaneously in Washington and New Delhi, the two nations also urged Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice.

In the same statement, Washington assured New Delhi that “the United States looks forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member”.

The two allies noted that they were faced with the common threat of terrorism and committed to “intensify efforts” to combat it.

They also pledged to work together to end proliferation of WMDs, nuclear terrorism and cross-border crime, and to address the misuse of the Internet for terrorist purposes.

The statement followed the fifth US-India Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi on Thursday. US Secretary of State John Kerry and India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj co-chaired the meeting.

“The leaders called for Pakistan to work toward bringing the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice,” said the statement issued after the talks.

They also “reiterated their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and reaffirmed their commitment to eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, and disrupting terrorist networks, including Al Qaeda and Lashkar-i-Taiba.”

US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker accompanied Kerry whose delegation included officials from the US Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, and NASA.

This marks the first US cabinet-level visit to New Delhi since the election of the Narendra Modi government. The US had already denied Modi a visa because of his alleged involvement in anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat but changed its policy after his election.

At the talks, the two sides recognised that Modi’s decisive mandate provided a unique opportunity to re-energise the US-India relationship.

They also expressed confidence that the summit meeting between Prime Minister Modi and US President Barack Obama in Washington in September this year would generate new dynamism in the relationship.

US Defence Secretary Hagel will visit New Delhi in August 2014 to deepen discussions on military exercises, defence trade, co-production and co¬-development, and research on new technologies for defence, the joint statement said.