Pakistan should withdraw safe havens given to terrorists, says Sushma Swaraj; US backs India
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday that she had apprised US Secretary of State John Kerry of cross-border terrorism by Pakistan, adding that there could not be double standards in combating terror.
Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday that she had apprised US Secretary of State John Kerry of cross-border terrorism by Pakistan, adding that there could not be double standards in combating terror.
"Secretary Kerry and I agreed that Pakistan needs to take fast track actions to catch perpetrators of 2008 Mumbai attack and 2016 Pathankot attack," she said addressing the press at the conclusion of the second India-US Strategic Dialogue here.
"I apprised Secretary Kerry of cross-border terrorism by Pakistan. There can't be double standards in combating terror. Pakistan should withdraw safe havens provided to LeT, JeM and D-Company. There cannot be good terrorists or bad terrorists. There was meeting of minds between the two sides on the issue of terrorism," she added.
"I thanked Secretary Kerry for USA's constant support for India's membership in NSG. This interaction has strengthened the US-India relationship. I hope it contributes to the world at large," Swaraj further said.
Following is full text of Swaraj's statement:
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) August 30, 2016
On his part, Kerry said, "Terror is terror, no matter where it comes from. US continues to support all efforts to bring the perpetrators of '08 Mumbai and '16 Pathankot attacks to justice."
Asserting that they have interacted with Pakistan in one way or the other, Kerry said, "I have recently spoke to the Prime Minister and General Raheel Sharif regarding the need for Pakistan to deprive any group sanctuaries... It is well known that the Haqqani network and others operated out of the western part of the country. LeT, we all know and we all spoken out against had an impact on India, directly. It is vital that Pakistan join with other nations in tackling this challenge, and in fairness, in recent weeks and months they have been moving more authoritatively."
"When two democracies, as large and diverse as India and US come together, it does not just help our citizens, but also humanity. Wide-ranging talks reaffirmed that when two such democracies get together we can't only make a change for our citizens but for world," Kerry added.
Kerry further said that he agreed with India for joint cyber security framework.
"Bottom line is that India and US are more deeply engaged on more important issues than at any time in history of our relationship," he said.
The two countries also agreed to boost their counter- terrorism cooperation by enhancing intelligence sharing, screening of terrorists, exchange of information on known or suspected terrorists.
They also agreed to continue to work closely to get terrorist entities listed by the UN system, by coordinating the approach to the UN 1267 Committee.
Today's Dialogue comes in the backdrop of unrest in Kashmir with India alleging Pakistan's involvement in it.
Apart from counter-terrorism, the two sides during the Dialogue, which was also co-chaired by Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, discussed issues of commercial, regional and international interests.
Asked by an American journalist about the tension between India and Pakistan and when the dialogue between the two will resume, Swaraj made it clear that "terror and talks will not go hand in hand".
She said India remained ready to have talks with Pakistan but there were legitimate expectations that it will act against terror groups which were carrying out attacks against India including the Pathankot one. "And the talks can only resume if these expectations were met," she added.
Kerry had earlier met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during which issue of Pak-sponsored terrorism was discussed.
(With Agency inputs)