India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) elevated the relationship between the two countries to a comprehensive strategic partnership and to “co-ordinate efforts to fight radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred, perpetrating and justifying terrorism or pursuing political aims.” This was announced in a joint statement by the two countries after bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
The statement which encompasses joint military exercises and greater security cooperation is also significant in the way it indicts Pakistan and state sponsored terror without naming the country. “The two nations condemn efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries. They also deplore efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and disputes including in West and South Asia and use terrorism to pursue their aims,” said the joint statement. It further states that the two countries cal on all nations to “fully respect and sincerely implement their commitments to resolve disputes bilaterally and peacefully without resorting to violence and terrorism,” a direct allusion to the Kashmir issue.
This strategic partnership would entail, according to foreign secretary S. Jaishankar, “enhanced cooperation in counter terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity building.”
Terror groups may no longer have safe haven
The two countries would also work towards the adoption of India’s proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations.
Very significantly, the statement also commits to working together to “control, regulate and share information on flow of funds that could have a bearing on radicalisation activities and cooperate in interdicting illegal flows and take action against concerned individuals and organisatons.”
When asked whether any movement was made towards the seizing of properties of international terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, foreign secretary Jaishankar said that, “there was a larger discussion of trends, which are obviously negative but when meetings take place at such high levels the discussion are basically on policy.”
Nevertheless, it is being seen as a positive step in ending at least some of the protection enjoyed by such entities in the UAE.
Especially since the joint statement also talks of working together to strengthen “cooperation in law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug trafficking, other trans national crimes, extradition arrangements, as well as police training.”
In real terms, the strategic relationship will entail regular meeting (at least every six months) between national security advisors of both countries, and improve points of contact between their security agencies to improve operational cooperation. Shared exercises by militaries on both sides and a commitment by UAE to invest in defence manufacturing in India is also included.
The UAE will also support India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the United Nation’s Security Council (UNSC), the statement said.