Washington: Sending out a strong message to Pakistan, India and the US on Tuesday urged the country to ensure that its territory is not used to launch cross-border terror strikes and to “expeditiously” bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump also vowed to strengthen efforts to fight terrorism and eliminate safe havens for terrorists.
“Eliminating terrorism is among the topmost priorities for us,” Modi told reporters in his joint address with Trump at the White House.
The joint statement issued after the meeting between the leaders said the two sides “called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terror attacks on other countries.”
It further called on Pakistan to “expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot attacks and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups.”
The prime minister said, “We talked about terrorism, extremism and radicalisation and agreed to cooperate on this. Fighting terrorism and doing away with the safe shelters, sanctuaries, and safe havens will be an important part of our cooperation.”
Trump said both nations are “determined” to destroy terrorist organisations and the radical ideology that drives them.
“The security partnership between the US and India is incredibly important. Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organisations and the radical ideology that drives them. We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism,” he said.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said the two nations noted that in their joint statement that terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought in every part of the world, and the US and India would do it together.
“Our militaries are working every day to enhance cooperation between our military forces, and next month they will join together with the Japanese navy to take part in the largest maritime exercise ever conducted in the Indian Ocean,” Trump said.
In their address at the White House Rose Garden, the two leaders also touched on trade, security, bilateral co- operation and instability in Afghanistan, among other issues.
Modi termed his talks with Trump, the first between the two leaders, as an “important page in the history of India-US relationship”. He said he discussed in detail with Trump defence and security cooperation between the two nations. The two leaders have spoken over phone thrice before this meeting. Describing both countries as “global engines of growth”, the prime minister said trade, commerce and investment are key areas of mutual co-operation. “Technology, innovation and knowledge economy are also areas we are actively looking at,” he said.
Trump said he is keen to work with Modi on creating a “fair and reciprocal” trade relationship between the two nations and called for the removal of “barriers” for the export of US goods into Indian markets. “It is important that that we reduce our trade deficit with your country,” he added. The US president said that ties between India and US have never been stronger and better. Before their meeting began, he thanked India for ordering military equipment from the US. He expressed pleasure about an order by an Indian airline company for 100 new American planes, calling it one of the largest orders of it is kind, which will support thousands and thousands of American jobs.
“We’re also looking forward to exporting more American energy to India as your economy grows, including major long-term contracts to purchase American natural gas, which are right now being negotiated, and we will sign them. Trying to get the price up a little bit,” he said.
Referring to the GST reform to be implemented across India starting next month, Trump said it was “the largest tax overhaul in your country’s history”.
“We’re doing that also, by the way. Creating great new opportunities for your citizens. You have a big vision for improving infrastructure, and you are fighting government corruption, which is always a grave threat to democracy,” he said.
India is the fastest growing economy in the world Trump said and added, “We hope we will be catching up you very soon.”
Both leaders also expressed concern over rising instability in Afghanistan caused by terrorism, and agreed to continue strengthening coordination for ensuring peace and stability in the war-torn country.
Trump also called for the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programs to be “rapidly” tackled, and thanked Modi for “joining us in applying new sanctions against Pyongyang.”
“The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly,” Trump said.