WASHINGTON: In a major breakthrough which is likely to have regional reverbations, India and United States have committed to the dismantling terror networks, specifically naming four Pakistan-based groups Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, D-company and the Haqqani network.
On his second day in Washington and last day in United States on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US president Barack Obama met for two hours of delegation level talks, followed by discussions in retricted form in 20 minutes.
The talks spilled on beyond time, which according to officials was due to the fact that a wide area had to be covered as the two leaders were in a “flow of conversation”.
The MEA joint secretary (americas) Vikram Doraiswami said that India and US had committed to “joint and concerted efforts” which include dismanting of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, disrupting financial and tactical support for Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e- Mohamed, D-company and Haqqani network”.
This is perhaps the most significant statement on terrorism from US in support for India, which is not likely to be liked in Islamabad.
When asked if it meant that US would increase support for Indian position like the punishment of JeM Hafez Saeed, the 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 for terror suspects and fighters who return from conflict zone. Asked if the latter meant that India was joining the anti-ISIS coalition, Doraiswami replied in negative, but said that the spread of radicalized youth was also a concern that impacted India.
The Prime Minister had made coalition against terrorism one of the most important part of his speech at the United Nations General Assembly. He had reiterated this in all his platforms including at the discussion in the New York-based Council for Foreign Relations.
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 US have agreed to renew the defence framework agreement for the next 10 years. The text is still to be negotiated but will be signed soon.
US has also agreed to be the knowledge partner for the proposed National Defence University.
To iron out the problems on implementing india-us nuclear deal, an inter-agency task force would be built to work out the problems related to liability, administrative and techno-commercial issues to bring US reactors for nuclear power plants.
India remained firm on the issue of WTO-based Trade Facilitation agreement, which was raised by US president Barack Obama. In his press statement, PM 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,” Abkaruddin said.
This was the main thorny issue, on which there was no agreement – but besides there were other matters in which there was increasing converges.
Increasing trilateral partnership in Afghanistan and fighting Ebola crisis world-wide were also seen as good platforms for India and US to join hands.
Further, US has agreed for lead partners for smart cities in Allahabad, Vishakapatnam and Ajmer. US firms will also similarly be working to help in the success of Modi’s other pet schemes of “make in india” and urban sewage management in 500 Indian cities.
In the joint op-ed signed by both leaders in Washington Post, US president had endorsed Modi’s “Clean India Initiative” and promised immediate "concrete" help.