India, US reiterate threat posed by LeT, D company

Washington: Even as recognising the threat posed by South Asian terror groups including Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba and D company, India and the US decided to step up their counter-terrorism efforts, they reached five other key agreements.

An India-US Joint Declaration on Combating Terrorism issued at the end of the first India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue on Tuesday renewed a call to Pakistan to bring perpetrators of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks to justice.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and US Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the dialogue, "reiterated the threat posed by entities such as Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, Lashkar-e-Taeba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company, and the Haqqani Network, and other regional groups that seek to undermine stability in South Asia."

The dialogue set the stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's third summit with President Barack Obama at the United Nations next week. Other key outcomes listed by Swaraj and Kerry at a joint press conference after the dialogue included setting up a new mechanism of dialogue between India's Foreign Secretary and US Deputy Secretary of State on regional and global issues.

The two countries also decided to elevate the secretary-level trilateral with Japan to ministerial-level. Kerry and Swaraj would meet their Japanese counterpart in New York next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. Kerry also announced that India and the US have also signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of climate change and renewable energy.

They also decided to launch a Fulbright Climate Fellowship programme. In another important outcome, India and the US decided to train troops in six African countries before they are deployed on a UN Peacekeeping mission. Kerry described this as a milestone.

The Indian side also welcomed US reiteration of support for India's membership of the four major multilateral export control regimes including the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to a secure and stable Afghanistan and agreed to launch an Ocean Dialogue.

Both Swaraj and Kerry described the meeting as "meaningful and productive". "A main take-away from our discussions includes our shared view that we need to keep the big picture, the strategic framework of relationship in mind, especially when it comes to our strategic security and political interests, regionally as also internationally, as also when we deal with trans-sectional issues," Swaraj said.

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