WASHINGTON: Countering terrorism is an important objective shared by India and the United States, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said here, while appreciating American support in India's efforts to eliminate extremism in its neighbourhood.
"We resolved to continue our cooperation on counter-terrorism. Our open and diverse societies are committed to peace. However, as the United States has shown, there can be no compromise when we are faced with terrorism," Parrikar said at a joint news conference with US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter yesterday.
"The forces that seek to undermine our progress and our ways of life require our comprehensive and robust response. We appreciate the support from United States in our efforts to eliminate terrorism in India's neighbourhood," Parrikar said.
"Secretary Carter and I agreed that countering terrorism is an important shared objective. The partnership between India and the United States is driven by our shared values and interests. This was underlined by the enthusiasm of the US Congress with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June this year," Parrikar said.
Responding to a question, Carter said that not only Indian civilians but its military also has been a victim of terrorism, in an apparent reference to the terrorist attack on Pathankot military base, carried out by Pakistani intruders.
"Terrorism is one of the many missions on which we cooperate...We oppose terrorism affecting anyone and us. That's certainly true with respect to terrorist acts perpetrated against the Indian people, and also I should mention the Indian military, which has happened as well. And this gives new scope for that, as well," Carter said.
As per a joint statement issued after the meeting between the two leaders, they agreed to facilitate greater and regular interactions to deepen mutual understanding between military services and promote practical cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as counter-terrorism, maritime security, special operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
"We and India share the principled view that in matters of freedom of the seas and freedom of the commons and freedom of navigation, as in so many other matters, States need to take a principled view where abiding by the rule of law and pursuing disputes peacefully is fundamental. We are able to operate together," Carter said.
During the meeting Carter and Parrikar praised the discussions at the inaugural Maritime Security Dialogue held in May. They welcomed the conclusion of the bilateral 'White Shipping' technical arrangement for data sharing on commercial shipping traffic.
They also discussed cooperation on capabilities to augment India's capacity for maritime domain awareness (MDA). Acknowledging India's positive contributions to regional security and stability, including in matters beyond the maritime space, Carter and Parrikar announced their agreement to take forward consultations in this area, including through the next Maritime Security Dialogue, which will be held later this year.
They noted recent high-level official exchanges, including the visit of Gen John Nicholson to New Delhi for consultations on Afghanistan, as well as by the secretary of the US Navy and the secretary of the US Air Force earlier this month, the joint statement said.