Stern line on Islamabad: Ensure no terror activity in territory

Kusum Tewari

NEW DELHI: While the India-US joint statement seemed to carry an abridged version of the condemnation of cross-border terrorism when the leaders met in 2017, it was unequivocal in condemning the menace as PM
Narendra Modi and President
Donald Trump denounced any use of terrorist proxies and called on Pakistan to ensure no territory under its control is used to launch terror attacks.

While the statement slammed “cross-border terrorism’’ in all its forms and also named terror groups like Jaish-e- Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Toiba supported by Pakistan against India, it also noted concerns regarding China. India and the US spoke of efforts towards a meaningful Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and “solemnly urged that it not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of all nations according to international law’’.

Soon after Modi assumed office in 2014, after his first summit with then president Barack Obama, India for the first time mentioned the South China Sea dispute in a bilateral document with the US. This happened again after Obama’s visit to India in early 2015. In 2017 though, the countries dropped the mention even though they reiterated the importance of respecting freedom of navigation, overflight and commerce throughout the region.

The joint statement called on Pakistan to ensure that no territory under its control is used to launch terrorist attacks and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks, including 26/11 and Pathankot. It also called for concerted action against all terrorist groups including al-Qaida, IS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the
Haqqani Network, TTP, D-Company and all their affiliates.

This is significant for India as it has sought similar condemnation from all world leaders, particularly the mention of cross-border terrorism, after high-level talks. Trump had in his speech in Ahmedabad on Monday and again at
Hyderabad House on Tuesday said the US is working with Pakistan to confront terrorists and their ideology. He also added that his country enjoyed a very good relationship with Pakistan.

Unlike last time though, the leaders did not affirm their support for a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that, as they said in 2017, will advance and strengthen the framework for global cooperation and reinforce the message that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.

Also missing was the pledge as was done last time to work together to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons to terrorists and non-state actors.

In his speech at the Hyderabad House, where he hosted Trump, Modi said cooperation between India and the US at the global level was founded on democratic values and objectives, especially in the Indo-Pacific region and other global commons. In a dig at China, he also said India and the US agreed on the importance of “sustainable and transparent financing’’ in the development of connectivity infrastructure across the world.

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