With Secretary of State John Kerry declaring that “US stands with India on all matters of terrorism, no matter where it comes from”, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Tuesday ruled out any dialogue with Islamabad saying “talks with Pakistan will happen only when it takes steps on the Pathankot terror attack” since “terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand”.
Addressing a press conference with Kerry who is here for the second strategic and commercial dialogue between India and the United States, Swaraj said: “I briefed Secretary Kerry on the continuing problem of cross-border terrorism that India and the larger region faces from Pakistan. We both agreed that nations must not maintain double standards, such as the categorisation of good and bad terrorists, nor must they act as sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorist organisations.”
“We 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. Secretary Kerry and I 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,” she said.
Kerry echoed his counterpart: “We cannot and will not distinguish between good and bad terrorists… US stands with India on all matters of terrorism, no matter where it comes from. It’s crystal clear we are on the same view over it.”
Swaraj said they 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 operationalisation 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.”
“I 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.”
“We 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. We have decided to widen our 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,” she said.
“On the bilateral side, our 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 and Industry, Power, Environment and Forests, Petroleum and Natural Gas among others. More such exchanges are planned in the coming months.”