India, US sign Counter Terrorism Initiative
New Delhi: India and the US on Friday signed a Counter Terrorism Initiative that includes steps to check financing of terror activities, joint probe in cases of bomb
blasts besides cooperation in cyber and border security.
"Today, with the formal signing of the initiative, we take several significant steps forward against terrorism," US ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer, who signed the agreement along with Home Secretary GK Pillai, told reporters here.
Terming the pact as symbolic of the "indispensable partnership" against terrorism, Roemer said both the countries will work closely in matters like intelligence sharing and
probe into bomb blasts.
"In the coming days and months there will be even closer information sharing and collaborative efforts on issues ranging from bomb blast probe and major event security to
mega-city policing, cyber and border security," he said.
The pact was initiated on the sidelines of the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the US in November, 2009.
"President (Barack) Obama and Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) have acknowledged the common threat that international terrorism poses to all people," Roemer said.
The agreement seeks to further enhance the cooperation between two countries in counter terrorism as an important element of their bilateral strategic partnership.
The initiative provides for strengthening capabilities to effectively combat terrorism; promotion of exchanges regarding modernisation of techniques; sharing of best
practices on issues of mutual interest; development of investigative skills and promotion of cooperation in forensic science laboratories.
Besides, it seeks to establish procedures to provide mutual investigative assistance; enhancing capabilities to act against money laundering, counterfeit currency and financing of terrorism; exchanging best practices on mass transit and rail security; increasing exchanges between Coast Guards and Navy on maritime security.
Exchanging experience and expertise on port and border security; enhancing liaison and training between specialist Counter Terrorism Units including National Security Guard with their American counter parts are part of the agreement.
The US envoy described it as a historic day for the US and India as the pact would bring the two countries closer together on issues of intelligence sharing, border security,
mega policing efforts and "to fight together on a global basis against a common enemy, against terrorism".
"Terrorism that has brutally attacked the US on 9/11, terrorism that 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.
"It is an exciting day, an unprecedented day and a very proud day for the people of US,", he said.
Pillai recalled that during the visit of Home Minister P Chidambaram to the US during September, 2009, several areas for counter terrorism cooperation between India and US, beyond the existing instrumentalities, were identified and which find
full reflection in the agreed document.
He described the Memorandum of Agreement as an evidence of successful cooperation between India and US in counter terrorism and as being based upon the solid foundation of mutual benefit.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was also present on the occasion.
The signing of the agreement is the latest step towards strengthening the close and effective cooperation between India and the US on counter-terrorism, information sharing and capacity building.