Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 25
India and the US denounced the use of terrorist proxies and called on Pakistan to ensure that no territory under its control is used to launch terror attacks.
In a joint statement issued following the two-day visit of US President Donald Trump to India, both sides also pressed Pakistan to bring to justice perpetrators of proxy-driven attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot.
They also called for concerted action against all terrorist groups, including Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen, all of which have staged attacks in India. The critical mention of Pakistan in the joint statement was a departure from the public statements of Trump in which he seemed to be withholding criticism of its role as an incubator of terrorism. The US agreed to continue backing India’s quest for permanent membership in a reformed UN Security Council and Trump reaffirmed US support for India’s immediate entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
India and the US pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation which included an aspect largely missing from their bilateral ties so far — closer collaboration on jointly producing advanced defence components, equipment and platforms.
The joint statement made it clear that the two sides will shortly sign a mini trade deal which will be followed by a mega trade pact, which Trump expects to be concluded by the end of this year. In this respect the joint statement said, “They agreed to promptly conclude the ongoing negotiations, which they hope can become phase one of a comprehensive bilateral trade agreement.”
Unusually for a joint statement by close strategic allies, there was no mention of a common stand on other pressing problems in the world, apart from Pak-sponsored terrorism and enforcing a “rules-based order” in the Indo-Pacific, possibly because of a big gap in the Indian and US stands on China, Iran and Russia.
Also unusually for joint statements which set out a broad vision, it specifically mentioned the military items — MH-60R and AH-64E Apache helicopters — India plans to purchase from the US. As India works to acquire new defence capabilities, Trump reaffirmed India’s status as a “major defence partner” giving it the highest consideration for procurement and technology transfer purposes. The leaders looked forward to the early conclusion of defence cooperation enabling agreements, including Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement.
Modi and Trump also resolved to enhance security of their homelands through cooperation and to jointly fight international crimes like human trafficking, terrorism, violent extremism, drug trafficking and crimes in cyberspace. They welcomed the decision by the US Department of Homeland Security and Ministry of Home Affairs to reinvigorate the Homeland Security Dialogue.
As a demonstration of their shared commitment to combating the threat that illicit drugs pose to their citizens, the two sides announced their intent to establish a new Counter-Narcotics Working Group. Modi and Trump noted the potential for the US to meet India’s goal to diversify its import base for coking/metallurgical coal and natural gas.
Joint statement Takeaways
- Call for concerted action against terror groups Jaish-e-Mohammad, LeT, Hizbul Mujahideen
- Pledge to deepen defence, security cooperation
- To shortly sign a mini trade deal which will be followed by mega trade agreement
- Collaboration on co-producing defence equipment
- US to back India’s quest for permanent membership in UN Security Council, entry into NSG
- India to purchase MH-60R naval and AH-64E Apache helicopters from the US in $3 bn deal
3 formal pacts in health, oil sectors
US President Donald Trump’s two-day visit saw both sides firming up steps to realise the full potential of the relationship, but only three documents were signed during the visit. The two sides inked a memorandum of understanding on mental health, another MoU on safety of medical products and a letter of cooperation between Indian Oil Corporation Limited and ExxonMobil India LNG and Chart Industries. Orders worth over $3 billion were also firmed up for US firms. — TNS
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