By Lalit K Jha
(Eds: Updating with more quotes)
Washington, Apr 12 (PTI) India and the US have asked Pakistan to take “immediate, sustained, and irreversible action” to ensure that no territory under its control is used for terrorist attacks and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack and Pathankot attack to be brought to justice.
The demand for action by Pakistan was made through a joint statement issued after the 2+2 Ministerial attended by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
This came a day after Shehbaz Sharif replaced Imran Khan as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
“The ministers called on Pakistan to take immediate, sustained, and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for terrorist attacks,” said the joint statement.
It noted that the ministers committed to the continued exchange of information about sanctions and designations against terror groups and individuals, countering violent radicalism, use of the internet for terrorist purposes, and cross-border movement of terrorists.
They also emphasised the importance of upholding international standards on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism by all countries, consistent with FATF recommendations, it said.
Pakistan has been on the grey list of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) since June 2018 for failing to check money laundering, leading to terror financing, and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019.
Since then, the country continues to be on that list due to its failure to comply with the FATF mandates.
India and the US strongly condemned any use of terrorist proxies and cross-border terrorism in all its forms and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack and Pathankot attack to be brought to justice.
“They called for concerted action against all terrorist groups, including groups proscribed by the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee, such as al-Qaeda, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb ul Mujahideen,” the joint statement said.
Speaking to reporters after the 2+2 Ministerial, Singh said they talked about the issue of counterterrorism and how this has been used against India.
Singh said they also discussed the situation in the neighbourhood.
“During the meeting, we also discussed our neighbours, and we tried to make sure that our assessment is also shared. During this meeting, we have talked about counterterrorism and talked about how this has been used against India,” Singh said.
Jaishankar said India and the US partner closely in counterterrorism and maritime security, making the world a much safer place.
“We spoke of developments in and around Afghanistan that have made their ripples felt well beyond. Our conversations also covered recent happenings in the Indian subcontinent,” he said.
India has said that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility, and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.
A terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on an Indian Army camp in Uri, have deteriorated the already strained relationship between the two nations.
The Mumbai attack case has entered into the 14th year but none of its suspects in Pakistan has been punished yet.
India and the US plan to hold the reconvening of a Ministerial meeting of the US-India Homeland Security Dialogue in 2022.
A senior Biden administration official told reporters that during the virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden, the leaders did discuss developments in the region and in South Asia.
“They touched on some of the developments in Sri Lanka, in Bangladesh. And I know that our State Department colleagues will be able to follow up on those discussions. It wasn’t a detailed discussion by the leaders, but it did come up,” said the official. PTI LKJ NSA AKJ NSA