India and the U.S. on Friday signed the Counter Terrorism Initiative (CCI) to forge close and effective cooperation in counter-terrorism, information-sharing and capacity-building.

“Today, with the formal signing of the initiative, we take several significant steps forward against terrorism,” said U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Home Secretary G.K. Pillai.

Describing the MoU as symbolic of the “indispensable partnership” against terrorism, Mr. Roemer said both countries would work closely in such matters as intelligence-sharing and bomb blast investigations.

“In the coming days and months, there will be even closer information-sharing and collaborative efforts in issues ranging from bomb blast probe and major event security to mega-city policing, cyber and border security. The strength of our bilateral relationship continues to grow, and the CCI will further enhance this unprecedented partnership,” Mr. Roemer said.

During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington in November 2009, he and President Barrack Obama had agreed on the Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative. The CCI is aimed at giving both the U.S. and India additional opportunities to work together across a broad spectrum, including transport security, money-laundering, counterfeit currency and terrorist financing, maritime, port and border security, cyber security and mega-city policing.

Common threat

“President Obama and Prime Minister Dr. Singh have acknowledged the common threat that international terrorism poses to all people,” Mr. Roemer said.

Exchanging experience of and expertise in port and border security; enhancing liaison and training between counter-terrorism units, including the National Security Guard, are part of the agreement.

“Terrorism has brutally attacked the U.S. on 9/11, terrorism has attacked the people of India, particularly on 26/11 in Mumbai, where six Americans were killed. So this effort, I think, symbolises Prime Minister Singh's and President Obama's efforts to create this indispensable partnership for the 21 century,” he said.

“The MoU provides the two countries with a legal authority and framework and an institutionalised mechanism for close cooperation in counter-terrorism and exchange of crucial information and databases,” Mr. Pillai said.

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