India, US ask Pak to act against 26/11 perpetrators

Washington: Recognising the threat posed by outfits like the al-Qaeda, LeT and the D-Company, India and the US today agreed to deepen cooperation in fighting terrorism and asked Pakistan to bring to justice the 2008 Mumbai attack perpetrators.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj co-chaired the first India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue that ended with the important takeaway of a joint statement on combating terrorism, recognising the threat posed by terror groups operating from terror safe havens within the South Asia region.

India and the US decided to take their counter-terrorism co-operation to the next level in view of the continued danger faced from terror groups and the emergence of the new global threat from the Islamic State.

At the conclusion of the dialogue, India and US issued a separate joint statement on counter-terrorism co-operation, pledging to fight terrorism together.

Swaraj said the joint statement reiterates commitment of the two countries on common approach against terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Haqqani network and the D-Company.

"We (India and the US) reiterate that the threat posed by al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D-Company (Dawood Ibrahim), Haqqani network and other regional groups undermines stability in South Asia. And we call to Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack," Swaraj told reporters while reading from the joint statement.

"We (India and the US) strongly condemn the July 27, 2015 terrorist attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab, and August 5, 2015 attack in Udhampur," she said of the terror assaults in India which were carried out by terrorists based in Pakistan.

Swaraj said the joint statement states that the two countries are determined to fight terrorism to the end. In response to a question, Kerry said the two countries are committed to bringing all their efforts together in this
fight against terrorism.

Another significant outcome of the parleys coming just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with US President Barack Obama in New York next week was that both sides set up a new mechanism of dialogue between India's Foreign Secretary and US Deputy Secretary of State on regional and global issues.

After the talks, Swaraj listed six key points as takeaways from the dialogue with the most important one being stepping up cooperation in fighting terrorism.

The two countries also decided to elevate the Secretary- level trilateral with Japan to a Ministerial-level. Kerry and Swaraj would meet their Japanese counterpart in New York next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

Responding to questions, both Kerry and Swaraj refuted reports that the India and US meeting was aimed at China.

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