In A First India-US To Cooperate Against Daesh
Sushma Swaraj with John Kerry
NEW DELHI: India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and US Secretary of State John Kerry led the first US-India Strategic and Commercial dialogue in Washington, DC on Tuesday. A joint statement issued by the two countries asserted “that ties between the United States and India have never been stronger – as reflected by unprecedented strategic cooperation, record levels of bilateral trade and investment, and more than 2 million annual visits between their citizens, students, and entrepreneurs.”
Additionally, the two countries issued a joint declaration on combatting terrorism. The declaration called on Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attack, and issued a strong condemnation of the July 27, 2015 terrorist attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab, and August 5, 2015, attack in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir. It also reiterated the threat posed by entities such as Al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, Lashkar-e-Tayibba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company, and the Haqqani Network, and “other regional groups that seek to undermine stability in South Asia.”
The statement also, for the first time, mentions the Islamic State or Daesh, in recognising “the serious threat posed by ISIL/Da’esh to global security and affirm efforts to degrade and defeat this threat in accordance with the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2178,2170, and 2199.”
Mutterings amidst India’s security establishment have repeated raised -- with or without basis -- the growing threat of Daesh in India, specifically Kashmir. These mutterings received an impetus after the Udhampur attack which claimed the lives of two border security personnel. The joint statement also referred to this attack, condemning it and the Gurdaspur attack on July 27. The security apparatus in India has pointed fingers at Pakistan for both these recent attacks.
The joint statement noted that India and the US will hold the next meeting of the next meeting of the Homeland Security Dialogue and of the Counterterrorism Joint Working Group in early 2016.
The full statement is as follows:
U.S.-India Joint Declaration on Combatting Terrorism
September 22, 2015
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Secretary of State John Kerry on the occasion of the inaugural India-U.S. Strategic and Commercial Dialogue:
1. Reaffirm the commitment of India and the United States to combat terrorism in all its forms, which constitutes a profound threat to global peace and security, and to uphold our common values of democracy, justice, and the rule of law;
2. Reaffirm President Obama’s and Prime Minister Modi’s vision to transform the U.S.-India relationship into a defining counterterrorism partnership for the 21st century;
3. Reiterate the threat posed by entities such as Al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, Lashkar-e-Tayibba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company, and the Haqqani Network, and other regional groups that seek to undermine stability in South Asia; 4. Call for Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attack;
5. Strongly condemn the July 27, 2015 terrorist attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab, and August 5, 2015, attack in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir;
6. Recognize the serious threat posed by ISIL/Da’esh to global security and affirm efforts to degrade and defeat this threat in accordance with the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2178,2170, and 2199;
7. Recall the signing of the U.S.-India Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative (CCI) and establishment of the Homeland Security Dialogue in 2010, as well as India’s membership in the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF);
8. Recall the Memorandum of Understanding signed in January 2015 between the U.S. Department of Treasury and India’s Ministry of Finance to enhance cooperation against money laundering and terrorism financing;
9. Applaud the 15 year anniversary of the U.S.-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group and the provision of Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) training for more than 1100Indian security personnel since 2009;
10. Recognize India’s participation in the February 2015 White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism; and,
11. Reaffirm their support for a UN Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism that advances and strengthens the framework for global cooperation and reinforces that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.
Additionally, Minister Swaraj and Secretary Kerry Commend:
1. The continuing efforts to finalize a bilateral agreement to expand intelligence sharing and terrorist watch-list information;
2. The meeting of the U.S.-India Terrorist Designations Exchange in July 2015 to strengthen cooperation on domestic terrorist designations, including implementation of UN 1373 (2001), and on international designations pursuant to UN 1267/1989;
3. The proposed next round of the Counterterrorism Joint Working Group in early 2016;
4. The discussions on cyber security at the U.S-India Cyber Dialogue in August 2015 and continuing close cooperation on cyber security and information sharing;
5. Progress toward India’s entry into the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Global Entry Program;
6. The inclusion of Mumbai in the Strong Cities Network, a forum to build sub-national resiliency against violent extremism;
7. Continuing discussions on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance;
8. The U.S.-India Megacity Policing Exchange, an initiative to deepen collaboration on training and community policing between local and state law enforcement;
Progress toward a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian National Police Academy (Hyderabad) and the New York Police Department;
9. The proposed next meeting of the Homeland Security Dialogue in early 2016.