New Delhi: India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj today discussed at length with the US Secretary of State John Kerry the issue of terrorism by underscoring that it is the key challenge to the international community, and the foremost threat to international peace and security.
Ms. Swaraj briefed Secretary Kerry on the continuing problem of cross-border terrorism that India and the larger region faces from Pakistan.
At a joint press interaction, Ms. Swaraj said that both agreed that nations must not maintain double standards, such as the categorization of good and bad terrorists, nor must they act as sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorist organizations.
India’s Minister for External Affairs said that both reaffirmed the urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminal networks including Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and D Company.
Ms. Swaraj said that Secretary Kerry and she also agreed on the need for Pakistan to do more to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice quickly.
Secretary Kerry and Ms. Swaraj spoke on the need to strengthen the international legal regime to counter terrorism. We agreed on additional measures to strengthen our counter-terrorism cooperation, specifically, to work for early operationalization of the Agreement on exchange of information on known or suspected terrorists. We will also intensify intelligence sharing and continue to work closely to get terrorist entities listed by the UN system, by coordinating our approach to the UN 1267 Committee.
They also had a detailed exchange of views on climate change and clean energy issues. Both our countries attach high importance to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, in the finalization of which President Obama and Prime Minister Modi played key roles.
Both leaders have agreed to scale up collaboration in clean energy and to quickly operationalize the various initiatives that were announced during Prime Minister’s visit to facilitate investments in this sector from US into India. We look forward to working with the US to ensure the success of the International Solar Alliance.
The two leaders also agreed to work together on the implementation of Agenda 2030, through its 17 Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are entirely consistent with many of our Government’s flagship domestic initiatives such as “Skill India”, Make in India”, “Swachch Bharat”. Given the fact that we account for 1/6th of humanity, success or failure in realizing Agenda 2030 or fulfilling the SDGs, will depend on the success achieved in India.
Ms. Swaraj thanked Secretary Kerry for his reiteration of continued US support to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and permanent membership of the UN Security Council. We both agreed that India’s enhanced global role is in mutual interest. They also had detailed discussions on the developments in our region, particularly Afghanistan. We have agreed to work together to strengthen the National Unity Government in Afghanistan.
It has also been decided to widen consultations to more effectively address the rapidly evolving regional and global situation. We will hold consultations on Africa and on multilateral issues within this year. We have also strengthened our cooperation in the area of peacekeeping. In this context, we recently launched the first UN Peacekeeping Course for African partners in New Delhi. This is an apt symbol of our partnership for peace, security and development in the wider world.
The two countries agreed to strengthen our cooperation in the area of maritime security. Our Trilateral with Japan has moved from dialogue into action in key areas of regional connectivity and HA/DR.
On the bilateral side, Indo-US partnership now covers every aspect of human endeavour. In this context there have been a series of sustained Ministerial exchanges in the areas of Defence, Finance, Urban Development, Commerce & Industry, Power, Environment and Forests, Petroleum and Natural Gas among others. More such exchanges are planned in the coming months.
Ms. Swaraj sought Secretary Kerry’s support for resolution of long-pending issues of totalization and the fee hike for H1B and L1 visa that impact our people-to-people exchanges, which is a vital source of strength for our relationship.
Kerry landed in Delhi yesterday for the 2nd US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. Today, he met with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and attended the plenary session of S&CD. The US-India S&CD concluded with a press interaction. He also met with Indian Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines (Independent Charge), Piyush Goyal.
According ot Deputy Spokesperson of the US State Department Mark Toner, Secretary Kerry also met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to discuss regional security, counterterrorism, and the deepening strategic partnership between the United States and India. The Secretary emphasized that he looks forward to continuing engagement to further strengthen the bilateral ties.