The US on Tuesday “fully” backed India on its demand that Pakistan should act against terrorists operating from sanctuaries on its soil with US Secretary of State John Kerry asserting that his country “stands in strong partnership with India” against all forms of terrorism.
Terrorism, more specifically that emanating from Pakistan, figured prominently in marathon talks between Kerry and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who briefed him extensively on the “continuing problem of cross-border terrorism that India and the larger region face from Pakistan.”
At a joint press conference with Kerry after the 2nd Indo-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD), Swaraj said, “We reaffirmed the urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminal networks including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and D (Mumbai blasts mastermind Dawood’s) Company.
“Secretary Kerry and I also agreed on the need for Pakistan to do more to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice quickly.”
Kerry said he had spoken to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif so that Pakistan deprives any terrorist group of sanctuary.
Swaraj also said they agreed that nations must not maintain double standards, such as the categorization of good and bad terrorists, nor must they act as sanctuaries and havens for terrorist organizations.
On his part, Kerry said, “I made it very very clear that United States stands in strong partnership with India against all terrorism no matter from where it comes from, no matter what form it takes. As I said, there is no good terrorists, bad terrorists. Terrorism is terrorism.
“We stand fully behind the Indian demand that there be justice with respect to the Mumbai attacks, with respect to other. We have had conversation with all of the members of the region frankly about the efforts they need to take to curb terrorism that comes out of their countries.
“That is true of everybody. Anywhere in the world. I think it is crystal clear that US and India are exactly in the similar mind with respect to the issue of terror and the need to not only prevent it but to bring those who perpetrate it to justice.”
The two countries also agreed to boost their counter-terrorism cooperation by enhancing intelligence sharing, screening of terrorists, exchange of information on known or suspected terrorists.
They also agreed to continue to work closely to get terrorist entities listed by the UN system, by coordinating the approach to the UN 1267 Committee.
Terming terrorism as a “key challenge to the international community, and the foremost threat to international peace and security”, Swaraj noted that there was a “meeting of minds” on this issue between the two sides.