India, US Call For Smashing Terror Networks8 November 2010
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: India and the US today agreed that all terrorist networks, including Lashkar-e-Toiba, must be defeated and asked Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks. A joint statement issued at the end of official engagements of three days of President Barack Obama’s maiden visit to India, the two countries emphasised the importance of close cooperation in combating terrorist financing and in protecting the internatinal financal system. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Obama reiterated that success in Afghanistan and regional and global security require elimination of safe havens and infrastructure for terrorism and violent extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 'Condemning terrorism in all its forms, the two sides agreed that all terrorist networks, including Lashkar e-Toiba, must be defeated and called for Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks 'Building upon the Counter Terrorism Initiative signed in July 2010, the two leaders announced a new Homeland Security Dialogue between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security and agreed to further deepen operational cooperation, counter-terrorism technology transfers and capacity building,' the statement said. Endorsing India’s longstanding call for reform for UN Security Council and its quest for permanent membership, Singh and Obama favoured an 'efficient, effective, credible UN to ensure a just and sustainable international order.' Dr Singh welcomed Obama’s affirmation that US looks forward to a reformed UNSC that includes India as a permanent member. The two leaders reaffirmed that all nations, especially those that seek to lead in the 21st century bear responsibility to ensure that the UN fulfil its founding ideals of preserving peace and security, promoting global cooperation and advancing human rights. Agreeing that their delegations in New York work together to ensure that the UNSC play an effective role, both the leaders underscore that all States have an obligation to comply with and implement UNSC resolutions including sanction regimes, said the statement. Reaffirming their nations’ shared values and increasing convergence of interests, Dr Singh and Obama resolved to expand and strengthen the India-US global strategic partnership. Building on the transformation in India-US relations over the past decade, the two leaders resolved to intensify cooperation between their nations to promote a secure and stable world; advance technology and innovation; expand mutual prosperity and global economic growth; support sustainable development; and exercise global leadership in support of economic development, open Government and democratic values, it said. The two leaders affirmed that their countries’ common ideals, complementary strengths and a shared commitment to a world without nuclear weapons give them a responsibility to forge a strong partnership to lead global efforts for non-proliferation and universal and non-discriminatory global nuclear disarmament in the 21st century, the joint statement said. They affirmed the need for a meaningful dialogue among all States possessing nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines, it added. They support strengthening the six decade-old international norm of non-use of nuclear weapons. They expressed a commitment to strengthen international cooperative activities that will reduce the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or material without reducing the rights of nations that play by the rules to harness the power of nuclear energy to advance their energy security. The two leaders expressed regret at the delay in starting negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament for a multilateral, non-discriminatory and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the future production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. India reaffirmed its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. The United States reaffirmed its testing moratorium and its commitment to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and bring it into force at an early date. Dr Singh and Obama concluded that their meeting is a historic milestone as they seek to elevate the India-US strategic partnership to a new level for the benefit of their nations and the entire mankind, the statement said. 'The two leaders look forward to the next session of the US-India Strategic Dialogue in 2011,' it said. Obama extended broad support to India’s bid for permanent seat in the UN Security Council and offering to play 'any role' in reducing Indo-Pak tensions, an euphemism for Kashmir which has been a sensitive issue here. Indo-Pak tensions came up during talks Obama had with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh who expresseed readiness to engage with Pakistan but made it clear that there can be no dialogue till Islamabad ends 'terror-induced coercion'. During the 75-minute meeting in the Hyderabad House on packed day of events, Dr Singh and Obama agreed on a number of new initiatives, including cooperation on internal security, removal of Indian companies from the US sanctions’ list and setting up of a research centre in India in civil nuclear field. Obama, who struck the right chord with the Indian political and business leaders, made the most-awaited announcement when he spoke to MPs backing India’s quest for permanent membership of a 'reformed' UNSC in the 'years ahead'. The announcement, which was greeted by thunderous applause by the gathering, was tempered with his suggestions for what India should do to fulfill its increased responsibility that comes with increased power. His message was clear that India should speak up on issues like human rights violations in Myanmar and implement sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. 'Indeed, the just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate.' 'That is why I can say today in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member,' he said in his speech in Parliament. Recalling the terror attack on Parliament in 2001 and Mumbai attacks in 2008, Obama said the US would continue to insist to Pakistan’s leaders that 'terrorist safe heavens within their borders are unacceptable and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attack should be brought to justice.' Earlier, addressing a joint press conference with Dr Singh, Obama said Kashmir was a 'longstanding dispute' between the two countries and that he believed both have interest in reducing tensions. Emphasising that the US 'cannot impose' solution to this problem, he said he has 'indicated' to Singh that 'we are happy to play any role the parties think is appropriate to reducing these tensions that is in interest of the region, the two countries and the United States.' Hoping that 'coversations' between India and Pakistan would start over the 'next several months and years', Obama said the dialogue may not start on that 'particular flash point' (of Kashmir) but other issues like confidence-building measures to enable the two countries to focus on range of their challenges and opportunities. On his part, Dr Singh said India was committed to engaging with Pakistan to resolving all outstanding issues, 'including the word-K (Kashmir). We are not afraid of that. 'But it is our request that you cannot simultaneously be talking and at the same time the terror machine (in Pakistan) is active as ever before. Once Pakistan moves away from terror-induced coercion, we will be very happy to engage productively with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues.' Dr Singh noted that he had always maintained that a 'strong, peaceful and moderate' Pakistan is in the interest of India, South Asia and the world as a whole. Obama commended Singh’s 'sincere and relentless desire', expressed 'publicly and privately', to pursue peace with Pakistan and hope the two countries would 'find mechanisms that will be appropriate' to reduce tensions. Speaking elaborately on growing Indo-US ties in various aspects, the President said the relationship is 'indispensable' in addressing trade-economic opportunities and confronting challenges like terrorism, violent extremism and spread of nuclear weapons. He also announced the US decision to remove Indian organisations from the 'so-called Entities List', implying that companies like the DRDO, BARC and Bharat Dynamics Limited, ISRO would be able to have cooperation with the American firms. The two leaders also discussed implementation of civil nuclear agreement and cooperation in clean technology. Obama also announced India’s decision to buy 10 C-17 cargo planes that will create 22,000 jobs in the US. The two leaders also discussed ways to reduce trade barriers, with Dr Singh underlining that any protectionist tendency would not be beneficial for both the countries. Obama noted that he had decided to visit India for three days which is the longest time he had spent in any country after becoming the President. Maintaining that relationship with India is important for the US, he said, 'don’t take my words, look at my actions'. Sending a strong message to Pakistan, Obama made it clear that terrorist 'safe havens' within its borders are 'unacceptable' and asked it to bring terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks to justice. '...We will continue to insist to Pakistan’s leaders that terrorist safe-havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks be brought to justice,' the President said in his 35-minute address to members of both Houses of Parliament. Obama said India and the US were working together, more closely than ever, to counter terrorism. Noting that the US’ strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates has to succeed on both sides of the border, Obama said that is why the US has worked with the Pakistani Government to address the threat of terrorist networks in the border region. 'The Pakistani Government increasingly recognizes that these networks are not just a threat outside of Pakistan-they are a threat to the Pakistani people, who have suffered greatly at the hands of violent extremists,' he said. Paying rich tributes to the victims of the 'barbaric' Mumbai attacks in 2008, Obama said he honours the memory of all those died in the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and the Mumbai carnage. Obama said 'we must also recognize that all of us have and interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic - and none more so than India.' Obama acknowledged India’s contributions in Afghanistan and said it has improved the lives of the Afghan people. 'We’re making progress in our mission to break the Taliban’s momentum and to train Afghan forces so they can take the lead for their security. And while I have made it clear that American forces will begin the transition to Afghan responsibility next summer, I have also made it clear that America’s commitment to the Afghan people will endure,' he said. The US will not abandon the people of Afghanistan or the region 'to the violent extremists who threaten us all.' Eulogising India's contribution to world civilisations, Obama invoked leaders from all walks of life - from his 'hero' Mahatma Gandhi to Tagore and Ambedkar - to drive home his point. Obama quoted Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore, 'Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high' as he recalled India's contribution to world civilisations and the message Swami Vivekananda delivered in 1893 at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. 'It's the richness of faiths celebrated by a visitor to my hometown of Chicago more than a century ago - the renowned Swami Vivekananda,' he said when he dwelt on the 'very idea of India' - 'its embrace of all colours, castes and creed'. And as he spoke about his belief that 'every person can fulfil their god-given potential' no matter where he comes from, he invoked the father of Indian Constitution B R Ambedkar, saying 'just as a Dalit like Dr Ambedkar could lift himself up and pen the words of the Constitution that protects the rights of all Indians...'. But most of all, his speech was dotted with references of Gandhi, the man whom he had hailed two days ago as 'a hero not just to India but to the world.' 'In the life of Gandhiji and in his simple and profound lesson to be the change we seek in the world. And just as he summoned Indians to seek their destiny, he influenced champions of equality in my own country, including a young Martin Luther King. 'After making his pilgrimage to India a half century ago, Dr King called Gandhi's philosophy of non-violent resistance 'the only logical and moral approach' in the struggle for justice and progress,' the 49-year-old US President said. He said he felt honoured and humbled to visit the residence where Gandhi and King both stayed - Mani Bhavan - and the memorial of the father of nation at Rajghat. 'We were humbled to pay our respects at Rajghat. And I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as President of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world,' he said. Trying to reach out to Indian masses, Obama said, 'We believe that no matter where you live - whether a village in Punjab or the bylanes of Chandni Chowk...An old section of Kolkata or a new high-rise in Bangalore - every person deserves the same chance to live in security and dignity, to get an education, to find work, and to give their children a better future.'