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India-U.S. JWG on counterterrorism to discuss regional terrorist threats, border security today


Washington: U.S. and Indian officials will meet here on Thursday for the 14th U.S.-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group (JWG) to discuss regional terrorist threats, information sharing, border security, and efforts to counter violent extremism.

Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism Justin Siberell would lead the U.S. delegation comprising officials from the Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security, while the Indian delegation would be led by Ministry of External Affairs Additional Secretary Ravi Thapar, said U.S. Departments of State spokesperson on Wednesday.

The spokesperson said, “The U.S.-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group is a regularly planned policy consultation designed to advance our common agenda and opportunities for cooperation across the full range of counterterrorism issues.”

“The United States looks forward to continued counterterrorism exchanges with India to broaden and deepen the partnership between the two countries,” added the spokesperson.

The U.S.-India Joint Declaration on Combating Terrorism as agreed upon by Secretary of State John Kerry and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on the occasion of the inaugural U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in September last reaffirmed the commitment of India and the U.S. to combat terrorism in all its forms, which constitutes a profound threat to global peace and security, and to uphold our common values of democracy, justice, and the rule of law.

It further reaffirmed President Barack Obama’s and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to transform the U.S.-India relationship into a defining counterterrorism partnership for the 21st century.

The joint declaration reiterated the threat posed by entities such as Al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, (Dawood) D Company, the Haqqani Network, and other regional groups that seek to undermine stability in South Asia.

It called for Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attack and strongly condemned the July 27, 2015 terrorist attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab, and August 5, 2015, attack in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir.

Further, both nations recalled the signing of the U.S.-India Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative (CCI) and establishment of the Homeland Security Dialogue in 2010, as well as India’s membership in the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and applaud the 15-year anniversary of the U.S.-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group and the provision of Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) training for more than 1,100 Indian security personnel since 2009.

It also recognised India’s participation in the February 2015 White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism and reaffirmed their support for a U.N. Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism that advances and strengthens the framework for global cooperation and reinforces that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.

Additionally, EAM Swaraj and Secretary Kerry commended the continuing efforts to finalise a bilateral agreement to expand intelligence sharing and terrorist watch-list information and the meeting of the U.S.-India Terrorist Designations Exchange in July 2015 to strengthen cooperation on domestic terrorist designations, including implementation of U.N. 1373 (2001), and on international designations pursuant to UN 1267/1989.

Among other, they also commended the proposed next round of the Counterterrorism Joint Working Group in early 2016; the proposed next meeting of the Homeland Security Dialogue in early 2016; the discussions on cyber security at the U.S-India Cyber Dialogue in August 2015 and continuing close cooperation on cyber security and information sharing; and progress toward India’s entry into the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Global Entry Programme. (ANI)

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