NEW DELHI: The 15th meeting of the India-US Counterterrorism Joint Working Group (JWG) in New Delhi on Tuesday saw the two sides review threats posed by terrorist groups worldwide and in their regions, including cross-border terrorism in South Asia.
The United States will host the next JWG meeting in 2019.
Apart from sharing information on terrorist outfits, the two sides discussed ways to counter terror-funding and foreign terrorist fighters. International and bilateral cooperation on justice, law enforcement, UN Security Council Resolution 2396 (which seeks the strengthening of measures to counter threats posed by returning foreign terrorist fighters) and capacity building efforts to counter terrorism were on the agenda.
The Indian team was led by Mahaveer Singhvi, joint secretary (counter-terrorism) in the MEA, while the American delegation was headed by Alina L. Romanowski, the US State Department’s principal deputy coordinator for counterterrorism.
The joint working group not only exchanges intelligence on terrorist operations, it also involves joint training in border management and surveillance techniques.
Cooperation against cyberterrorism is another key feature, and the two sides launched a Strategic Cyber Policy Dialogue in 2013. “The Framework for the India-US Cyber Relationship, the first such document the US has signed with any foreign government, commits both countries to principles such as promoting international law, public-private partnerships, and appropriate norms of state cyber conduct,” says Vinay Kaura, Assistant Professor at the Sardar Patel University of Police, Security, and Criminal Justice.
In September 2015, the two sides agreed to transform their relationship into “a defining counterterrorism partnership for the 21st century.” A former intelligence officer, however, warned that all these talks might sound good, but they remain somewhat pointless unless the US makes up its mind over how to deal with Pakistan.