US and India issue joint call for Pakistan to crackdown on terrorists | News | DW | 30.08.2016
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US and India issue joint call for Pakistan to crackdown on terrorists

The US and India have agreed to strengthen bilateral security and energy ties. Relations have warmed rapidly between the two nations in recent years over concerns about terrorism and an increasingly assertive China.

US Secretary of State John Kerry joined with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, in calling on Islamabad to "deprive any group of sanctuary," referring to the threat posed by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Kashmiri separatist group based in Pakistan.

"We will not and we cannot make distinctions between good and bad terrorists... Terrorism is terrorism," Kerry said at a press conference on Tuesday alongside Swaraj in New Delhi. He reiterated long-running accusations that Pakistan was "providing safe havens to terror groups."

Both India and Pakistan lay claim to the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir, which has long been divided. Tensions there have flared anew since early July, when the Indian army killed a charismatic young separatist leader. Since then, sporadic violence has left another 70 people dead, and a curfew in place across much of the disputed territory.

Need to combat terrorism

They called on Pakistan to also do more to prosecute perpetrators of terror attacks. In particular, India is seeking justice for a 2008 terror attack in Mumbai that killed 172 people, and wounded more than 300.

India blames Pakistani-based groups for that attack and others, including one earlier this year on an Indian Air Force base.

Swaraj reiterated that, "Pakistan should stop providing safe havens to terror groups."

The two allies also agreed to step up cooperation on intelligence.

"We agree on additional measures to strengthen our counterterrorism," said Swaraj. "We will intensify intelligence sharing."

The US government has "had conversations with all members of the region frankly, about efforts they need to take against terrorism which comes out of their country," Kerry said, adding that he had personally raised the issue with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Kerry announced plans to renew trilateral talks involving the US, India and Afghanistan - putting further pressure on Pakistan to rein in terrorists operating from their territory. Afghanistan, like India, has long complained that Pakistan is a launching pad for terror attacks against neighboring countries.

Kerry's two-day visit began just hours after the two countries signed a deal in Washington that opens access to each other's military bases for repairs and resupplies. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the agreement would make joint operations between their militaries logistically easier and more efficient.

Relations between the US and India have warmed rapidly in recent years, driven not only by a shared desire to tamp down terrorism but, perhaps, by an even stronger desire to act as a counterweight to an increasingly assertive China.

bik/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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