Echoing India’s concerns for an end to distinction between “good terrorism” and “bad terrorism”, the United States on Tuesday sought action from Pakistan on 26/11 attacks and the attack on the Pathankot airbase, while announcing that the U.S. will hold trilateral talks with Afghanistan and India during next month’s U.N. session to fine-tune counter-terror measures.
The tough announcement against terrorism was the highlight of the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) which saw Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker address Indian concerns on a wide range of issues like counter-terror, multi-lateralism and easier visa regime for Indian workers to the U.S.
Hardening position Mr. Kerry’s announcement of a trilateral is a significant move ahead and indicates a hardening position on terror that hurts South Asia. The first and second trilateral dialogues including India, the U.S. and Afghanistan were held in 2012 and 2013.
“Let me be clear, United States continues to support all efforts to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai and the Pathankot attacks to justice and we cannot and will not make distinction between good and bad terrorism,” Mr. Kerry told a press conference.
The comments from the visiting Secretary of State of the outgoing Obama administration came a day after he supported Bangladesh in its fight against international terrorism.
“Terror is terror no matter where it comes from and who carries it out,” Mr. Kerry said and announced that the U.S. and India have agreed to exchange “terrorist screening information” to build a wall against global terrorism.
However, Mr. Kerry acknowledged that Pakistan had acted against the “Haqqani network.”
India not to blame for strained ties with Pak.: Sushma
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday that she told Secretary of State John Kerry that “Pakistan will have to take tough actions against LeT, Jaish and D-Company.”
She was addressing a press conference with Mr. Kerry, who backed India’s demand for Pakistan action against the 26/11 and Pathankot attackers.
The favourable comments from the Secretary of State came after he spent a day in discussions with Ms. Swaraj and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. He is scheduled to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi before leaving.
Ms. Swaraj described Mr. Kerry’s comments on terrorism as “positive” (swakaratmak) while arguing that India did not pose any obstacle to having normal ties with Pakistan.
“You should be knowing that India did not pose any challenge to normal ties with Pakistan. During the swearing-in ceremony of this government, Pakistan’s Prime Minister was invited. I started the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) during my trip to Pakistan. Then Prime Minister Modi visited Lahore but they responded with an attack on Pathankot,” Ms. Swaraj said, as Mr. Kerry announced both sides will work on the Joint Cyber Framework which will “research and develop” new methods to counter new-age threats.
Mr. Kerry also announced that both sides have “moved ahead” toward realising 6 Westinghouse reactors, since the landmark India-U.S. nuclear deal.
“We hope to see our civil nuclear cooperation take shape in the form of new reactors that will deliver reliable electricity to tens of millions of Indian households,” Mr. Kerry said.