WASHINGTON: In their first ever joint declaration on combating terrorism, the United States and India have equated Lashkar-e-Taiba with Al Qaeda affiliates and warned that such groups were seeking to undermine stability in South Asia.
They also pledged to continue high-level consultations on Afghanistan, making clear their “enduring commitment to the Afghan people”.
The United States reiterated its support for India’s membership in four major global non-proliferation export control regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Washington also reaffirmed its support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member.
Both endorsed the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers led by the US and called for its timely and thorough implementation by Tehran.
The document on terrorism was one of several declarations issued after the first US-India strategic and commercial dialogue held in Washington on Tuesday. US Secretary of State John Kerry led the US team in these talks while Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and her team represented India.
The joint declaration identified terrorism as a profound threat to global peace and security and reaffirmed their leaders’ “Vision to transform the US-India relationship into a defining counter-terrorism partnership for the 21st century”.
The two sides also pointed out “the threat posed by entities such as Al Qaeda and its affiliates, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company, and the Haqqani Network, and other regional groups that seek to undermine stability in South Asia”.
They urged Pakistan to “bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attack”.
The United States also joined India in strongly condemning the July 27 terrorist attack in Gurdaspur and the August 5 attack in Udhampur.
They also recognised the serious threat posed by the self-styled IS to global security and affirmed efforts to degrade and defeat this threat.
At the meeting, India confirmed its participation in the February 2015 White House summit on countering violent extremism. Pakistan is also expected to attend this summit.
The United States and India are also working on a bilateral agreement to expand intelligence sharing and terrorist watch-list information.
The two sides discussed the inclusion of Mumbai in the Strong Cities Network, a forum to build sub-national resiliency against violent extremism.
In a separate meeting, India Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker reviewed proposals for raising India-US trade fivefold to $500 billion.
The two teams renewed the US-India Technology Safeguards Agreement to facilitate the launch of US satellite components on Indian space launch vehicles.
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2015