NEW DELHI: Before its impending divorce from the EU, the UK is snuggling up to India. Besides giving impetus to trade ties, the UK on Monday strongly came out in support of India against cross-border terrorism and asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and the Pathankot air base attack earlier this year.
In a strongly worded Joint Statement, India and the UK underlined the threat posed by “transnational” terrorism and reiterated “their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot attack to justice”. The statement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in bilateral talks with the UK Prime Minister Theresa Pay expressed grave concern about cross-border terrorism.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s choice of India as her first destination outside Europe underlines the importance the UK accords to its bilateral ties with India, the country that was referred to as the most precious jewel in the crown of the British Empire. Even as the terms and conditions of Brexit are being finalised, the UK would want to forge stronger ties with India that is now the third biggest economy in the world in terms of Purchasing Power Parity. Prime Minister May strongly condemned the attack on Army base in Uri in September that claimed lives of 19 soldiers.
The UK has ties to the Indian sub-continent that goes back to centuries. And without naming Pakistan or the slain Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani, who was lionised by Islamabad to incite passions in the Kashmir valley since July this year, India and the UK said that strong measures should be taken against those who “encourage, support and finance terrorism; provide sanctuary to terrorist and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues”. Pakistan has also given shelter to Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar and co-founder of Lashkar-e-Toiba Hafiz Saeed.
“There should be no glorification of terrorists or efforts to make a distinction between good and bad terrorists. They agreed that South Asia should be stable, prosperous and free from terror and called on all countries to work towards that goal,” the Joint Statement declared.
After the talks both the Prime Ministers held a joint press event. The Indian Prime Minister said that the bilateral cooperation to combat terrorism and radicalization figured prominently in the talks. "We agreed that it is not a limited security challenge. Its arc of threat spreads across nations and regions. Terrorists move across borders with ease, and endanger the entire humanity,” Prime Minister Modi said.