Pakistan must dismantle terrorist safe havens, assert India, US

'It is vital that Pakistan join with other nations in fighting this challenge (of terrorism),' Kerry said. Photograph:( Reuters )

PTI New Delhi, India Aug 30, 2016, 02.28 PM (IST)
There's an "urgent necessity" for Pakistan to "dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminal networks", including Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Dawood Ibrahim gang, operating from its territory. India and the United States reaffirmed this in a joint press conference after the second India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD).

Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said, "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." Swaraj and US secretary of state John Kerry addressed the press conference together. Kerry referred to the Indian minister using her first name several times. 

Swaraj said she and secretary Kerry "discussed at length the issue of terrorism, which is the key challenge to the international community, and the foremost threat to international peace and security".

"I am happy to note that there was a 'meeting of minds' on this issue."

"We both agreed that nations must not maintain double standards, such as the categorisation of good and bad terrorists, nor must they act as sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorist organisations, " Swaraj said.

The Indian external affairs minister also briefed secretary Kerry on the problem of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan that India and the neighbourhood faces.

"It is vital that Pakistan joins with other nations in fighting this challenge," Kerry said. He said he was noting progress in counter-terrorism operations in the west of the country and was in touch with Pakistan's civilian and military leaders on terrorism.

"My hope is that Pakistan as a country is not isolated by this, but is encouraged by this," Kerry said, referring to the planned US-India-Afghan talks that would be held at the annual UN meetings in New York.

"I thanked Secretary Kerry for the US constant support for India's membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). This interaction has strengthened the US-India relationship, and I hope it contributes to the world at large," she added.

"For this, we need to define the benefits associated with India`s designation as a 'Major Defence Partner' of the US during the Prime Minister's visit in June. This would spur defence industry collaboration between India and the US and help India play the desired role as a net provider of security in the region," Swaraj said.

Pointing out that both countries share the same democratic ethos of freedom, equality, pluralism and rule of law, she said, "India's enhanced global role is in our mutual interest. It is in this context, we look forward to continue working closely with the U.S. to secure our membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)."

"In view of the rapidly evolving regional and global situation," said Swaraj, "we look forward to resuming the meeting of the Trilateral with Afghanistan; consultations on Africa and on multilateral issues within this year."

(WION with inputs from ANI)