WASHINGTON: In a major breakthrough that is likely to have regional reverberations, India and the US on Tuesday committed to dismantling terror networks. Four Pakistan-based groups, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, D-company and the Haqqani network were specifically named.
On his second day in Washington and last day in the US on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama met for two hours of delegation-level talks, followed by discussions in restricted form for 20 minutes.
The talks spilled on beyond time, which according to officials was because a wide area had to be covered as the two leaders were in a “flow of conversation”.
MEA joint secretary (Americas) Vikram Doraiswami said India and US have committed to “joint and concerted efforts that include dismantling safe havens for terrorists and criminal networks, disrupting financial and tactical support for Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, D-company and Haqqani network”.
This is perhaps the most significant statement on terrorism from the US in support of India, that Islamabad may not like.
When asked if it meant the US would increase support for Indian positions like the punishment of JeM chief Hafeez Saeed, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “Akalmand ko ishaara kafi hai (the clever can interpret the signal)”.
Besides, there was also agreement on exchange of blacklist of terror suspects and fighters who return from conflict zones. Asked if the latter meant that India was joining the anti-IS coalition, Doraiswami replied in the negative. Further, in a boost to India’s fight against Naxalism, both sides are working out modalities to buy mine-resistant vehicles for Indian paramilitary groups. On the defence front, India and the US have agreed to renew the framework agreement for the next 10 years. The text is yet to be negotiated but will be signed soon.
To iron out problems on implementing the Indo-US nuclear deal, an inter-agency task force would be set up to resolve problems related to liability, administrative and techno-commercial issues to bring US reactors for power plants.
India remained firm on the issue of WTO-based Trade Facilitation Agreement that was raised by Obama. In his press statement, Modi explained that India was not against TFA, but it required the full implementation of the Bali package. “Food security is as important to India, as TFA is to our interlocutors,” said Akbaruddin.
Further, the US has agreed to be the lead partner for smart cities in Allahabad, Visakhapatnam and Ajmer.
US firms will also be helping out in Modi’s ‘Make in India’ and urban sewage management in 500 Indian cities.