Washington: US President Joe Biden joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi in condemning cross-border terrorism and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to be brought to justice – in an obvious reference to Pakistan.
Though the two leaders, who met for their first in-person bilateral on Friday, did not take the name of Pakistan, the reference was obvious.
They also denounced any use of terrorist proxies and emphasized the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terror attacks, a joint statement issued after the talks said.
“The Leaders reaffirmed that the United States and India stand together in a shared fight against global terrorism, and will take concerted action against all terrorist groups, including groups proscribed by the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee, condemned cross-border terrorism, and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice,” it said.
The bilateral between Prime Minister Modi and US President Biden saw “very careful consideration” by both sides on the support given to hard-line elements in Afghanistan, including terrorist groups, by Pakistan and there was a clear concern expressed in that regard, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said later briefing the media.
“There was very careful consideration by both sides on the support given to certain hard-line elements in that country (Afghanistan), including terrorist groups by a certain neighbour (Pakistan) of Afghanistan. I think there was there was a clear concern expressed in that regard on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan and their continuing support for a certain approach that did not seem to be conducive to the international community’s, expectations of what Afghanistan should be like.”
Counter-terrorism was a key focus area in the bilateral talks. The pernicious role played by Pakistan in Afghanistan, and the need for the international community to be cognizant of this, found resonance with US interlocutors, it is learnt.
They also noted that the US and India would be organizing a Counter-Terrorism Joint-Working Group meeting, a Designations Dialogue, and there is also going to be a renewed US-India Homeland Security Dialogue in the areas of law enforcement and security, Shringla said.
They also welcomed opportunities to develop counterterrorism technologies. They commended the U.S.-India Counter Narcotics Working Group and are committed to finalizing a new Bilateral Framework which would facilitate joint efforts to combat drug trafficking, illicit narcotics production and precursor chemical supply chains, the joint statement said.
During the bilateral with Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday, the issue of Pakistan in the context of terrorism had cropped up.
Vice President Harris had “suo moto” referred to Pakistan’s role in the context of terrorism during her bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, and said there were terror groups that were working in that country and asked Islamabad to take action so that these groups do not impact on the US’ security and that of India, Shringla had said earlier.
“She agreed on the briefing of the Prime Minister on the fact of cross-border terrorism and the fact that India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism for several decades now, and on the need to rein in and closely monitor Pakistan’s support for such terrorist groups,” Shringla said on Thursday.