January 2016 News

India, France Include Hizbul Mujahideen In Global Terror List

25 January 2016
Iftikhar Gilani

New Delhi: Fifteen years after luring the lone surviving Kashmiri militant group to talks, the Central government on Monday bracketed the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) with other global terror networks like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Haqqani Network and al Qaeda, seeking decisive action against these groups. In August 2000, the then NDA government, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had declared ceasefire and held a round of discussion with top HM commanders at a Srinagar government guest house. Though the Muzaffarabad-based HM chief Syed Salahuddin recently claimed responsibility for the Pathankot attack, none in the security establishment took it seriously, given the organisation's lack of wherewithal and capacity to conduct such a lethal attack. After extensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting French President Francois Hollande, both sides focused to boost counter-terrorism cooperation in the aftermath of the Paris attack in November last and Pathankot terror strikes earlier this month. In a joint statement on counter-terrorism, both sides mentioned the HM along with other global terror networks. Stressing that terrorism cannot be justified under any circumstance, regardless of its motivation, wherever and by whomsoever it is committed, both leaders asked for decisive actions against these groups. The two sides resolved to step up their joint effort to counter violent extremism and radicalisation, disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and flow of foreign fighters, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent supply of arms to terrorists. 'To this end, they committed to further develop exchanges in the fields of intelligence, in particular cybersecurity,' the joint statement said. 'We are also of the view that the global community needs to act decisively against those who provide safe havens to terrorists, who nurture them through finances, training and infrastructure support,' Modi said, referring to Pakistan. The two countries reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which also caused the demise of two French citizens, and to ensure that such attacks do not recur in the future, the joint statement said. 'Daesh has attacked us. The Islamic State is provoking us but we are determined to take the right decision. We will strike them time and again. I would like to thank you for the support in dire circumstances. France will never forget. We have decided to strengthen our cooperation against terror,' Hollande said. On other issues, Modi said: 'From smart cities, locomotives, railway tracks and nuclear power... These are all foundations for building a new commercial partnership.' Hollande asserted that 'there is no better trust than sharing civil nuclear technology' and hoped that the issues pertaining to the six reactors at Jaitapur nuclear plant will be settled in one year. In pursuance of the 2008 civil nuclear pact, the two leaders encouraged their industrial companies to conclude techno-commercial negotiations by the end of 2016 for the construction of six nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur, the statement said. The negotiations will consider cost viability of the project, financing from the French side, collaboration on transfer of technology and cost-effective localisation of manufacturing in India for large and critical components in accord with the 'Make in India' initiative. Ambassador Rakesh Sood described nuclear energy a a major sector of cooperation between the two countries. He reminded that when the US had cut off fuel supply to Tarapur nuclear power plant in 1982, the French stepped in to provide with enriched uranium. France has a history of making defence equipment in India. The French Alouette helicopters were used by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and made in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited as Chetak. IAF had in its kitty French fighter jets Ouragan in the 1950s and 1960s, and, of late, the Mirage. Rafale jets will be fifth French addition to the IAF inventory.