Pakistan needs to take 'concerted action' to dismantle terror infrastructure, India and US say – TNN
WASHINGTON: India and the United States on Monday called on Pakistan to take “concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory,”
following India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale’s meeting on Monday with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
In a statement that seemed to reflect continued skepticism about Pakistan's claims that it was acting against homegrown terror groups that have been internationally proscribed, New Delhi said the two sides also agreed that countries which “support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable.”
“Foreign Secretary conveyed appreciation to the US Government and to Secretary Pompeo personally for the firm support that India received from the US in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Pulwama,
in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. He apprised Secretary Pompeo about recent developments in this regard. Secretary Pompeo expressed his understanding of India's concerns regarding cross-border terrorism,” the Indian Embassy said in a press release following the meeting.
Meeting the cabinet principal in charge of US foreign policy first-up during a three-day visit underscored the receptivity with which the Trump administration has received New Delhi’s position on Pakistan’s use of terror – Washington’s other niggles with New Delhi (such as trade deficit) notwithstanding.
Both the White House and the State Department have excoriated Pakistan for its continued dalliance with terror groups and the tenor of the statement following the Pompeo-Gokhale meeting hewed close to the Trump administration’s line on the issue: Pakistan must forgo its use of terror groups in the region and establish its bonafides in this regard before any other
Although the Indian foreign secretary’s visit has a wider agenda and he has meetings scheduled with his counterparts Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson, calling on Pompeo at the top of the visit and the statement that followed highlighted mutual
concern regarding Pakistan after recent aggravations in the region.
This was the first direct personal exchange between the two sides after the Pulwama terror attack followed by the Balakot
air strikes, which the Trump administration characterized as “counterterrorism action,” thus endorsing what New Delhi has said will be the new norm in response to any terrorist attacks emanating from Pakistan.
The Indian Embassy said the foreign secretary and secretary Pompeo also discussed “other issues of mutual interest including Afghanistan and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, and agreed to closely work together in this regard.”
In response to secretary Pompeo's reference to bilateral trade matters, the foreign secretary underscored the significant reduction in trade deficit in the last three years and conveyed India's willingness to remain engaged with the US for a meaningful and mutually acceptable package on trade issues,
the Embassy statement said.
The Trump administration has taken a tough line on trade issues with India, withdrawing preferential treatment to more than $5.6 billion worth of imports from India that was subjected to zero tariffs under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme conceived in the 1970s to help developing countries. President Trump is insistent on bridging trade deficits with major partners, and although the $21.3 billion deficit with India is a fraction of the $325 billion US deficit with China, he wants New Delhi to open up its markets and buy more American goods and produce to reduce the gap.
While there are apprehensions in some quarters that the business-oriented US President may be overemphasizing trade issues with India at the expense of strategic engagement, the Indian statement expressed satisfaction over the “significant progress and the quality of the India-US Strategic Partnership since Secretary Pompeo's visit to India in September 2018 for the first ever ministerial 2+2 Dialogue.”