India, US Urge Pakistan to Take 'Immediate' Action to Ensure Terrorists Don't Use Its Territory

© REUTERS / AKHTAR SOOMROParamilitary soldiers stand guard on a road leading to the parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan April 9, 2022.
Paramilitary soldiers stand guard on a road leading to the parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan April 9, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.04.2022
The joint call by New Delhi and Washington to check terrorism in Pakistan came soon after former opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif was elected the nation's new prime minister following Imran Khan's ouster.
India and the United States have called upon Pakistan to take "immediate, sustained, and irreversible" action to ensure that its territory is not used by terrorists to carry out attacks against third countries, as per a joint statement released after the fourth US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington on Monday.
The discussions were attended by Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The talks were preceded by a virtual call between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden.

"The ministers 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 (2008), and Pathankot attack (2016), to be brought to justice", said the joint statement.

The joint statement "welcomed" the meeting between Indian and American officials in the "Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism" as well as the "India-US Designations Dialogue" last October.

New Delhi and Washington also backed "concerted action" against terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda*, Daesh**, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), as per the statement.

Further, the ministers "committed to continue the exchange of information" on sanctions and designations against terrorist groups and individuals in a bid to counter online radicalisation and the "cross-border" movement of terrorists.
"The ministers also reaffirmed their support for the early adoption of a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that advances and strengthens the framework for global cooperation and reinforces that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism", the statement read.

In a related development, India's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday designated Ali Kashif Jan alias Jan Ali Kashif, a resident of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and the alleged mastermind of the Pathankot attack, a terrorist under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), federal counter-terrorist legislation. Jan is an operational commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

Last week, the MHA also declared Hafiz Talha Saeed, the head of the clerical wing of another terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), as a terrorist under the UAPA. Talha is the son of the alleged mastermind of the 26/11 terrorist attacks (in India's Mumbai) Hafiz Saeed, who was last week sentenced to 31 years in prison over illegal funding.
New Delhi has often complained that in spite of providing "concrete evidence" to Islamabad about Saeed's involvement in the 26/11 attacks, Pakistan is yet to take any action against the UN-proscribed terrorist.
New Delhi has maintained that Pakistan's inability to prosecute terrorist entities involved in past attacks in India and its support for terror proxies has been a major stumbling block in normalising bilateral ties.

In fact, Prime Minister Modi told his new Pakistani counterpart Shehbaz Sharif on Monday that "India desires peace and stability in a region free of terror, so that we can focus on our development challenges and ensure the well-being and prosperity of our people".

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also asked Sharif to "curb terrorism", in what was supposed to be a congratulatory message from him to the new prime minister.
Islamabad, on the other hand, downgraded its diplomatic ties with New Delhi in 2019, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government scrapped the semi-autonomous status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two federal territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
After being elected prime minister by lawmakers in the National Assembly on Monday, Sharif called for a "resolution" of the Kashmir dispute under relevant United Nations (UN) mechanisms.
Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed region between India and Pakistan, and is partly controlled by both nuclear-armed neighbours.
An Afghan national holds a sign during a protest against Pakistan and Taliban near a police station in New Delhi, India, September 14, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.09.2021
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The Biden administration, on the other hand, has been critical of Pakistan of late for its "duplicitous" role in Afghanistan, a reference to Islamabad's apparent backing of the Taliban before it stormed to power last August.
At the same time, Pakistan was also one of America's most crucial allies in the "War on Terror" and acted as a base for counter-insurgency operations and drone strikes inside Afghanistan between 2001 and 2021.
* Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries.
** Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other nations.
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