Modi-Obama discuss Pak-based terror, defence ties

RSTV Bureau
Washington:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama during their joint press briefing in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Tuesday.PTI Photo

Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama during their joint press briefing in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Tuesday.PTI Photo

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to strengthen cooperation in tackling Pakistan-based terror groups. Both leaders called for bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai attacks and the recent Pathankot airbase attack, to justice.

“They (Obama and Modi) called for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice,” said a joint statement issued after the Obama-Modi meeting at the White House.

In doing this, President Obama sent out a clear message to Pakistan – to act against Pakistan based terror outfits like groups like JeM, LeT and even the Dawood “company”.

“They (Obama and Modi) resolved to redouble their efforts, bilaterally and with other like-minded countries, to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism anywhere in the world and the infrastructure that supports them,” said the statement.

Both leaders also condemned terror attacks across the world and acknowledged the threat posed by outfits like Daesh/ISIL and Al-Qaeda.

“…They directed their officials to identify specific new areas of collaboration at the next meeting of US-India Counter-terrorism Joint Working Group…. the leaders applauded the finalisation of an arrangement to facilitate the sharing of terrorist screening information ” the statement said.

PM Modi and President Obama also confirmed their support for a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that advances and strengthens the framework for global cooperation and reinforces that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.

The hour-long meeting between the leaders of the world’s largest democracies also strengthened their bilateral ties in the defence sector.

The US recognised India as a “major defence partner”. “Noting that the US-India defence relationship can be an anchor of stability and given the increasingly strengthened cooperation in defence, the United States hereby recognises India as a Major Defence Partner,” said the joint statement.

The US will continue to work toward facilitating technology sharing with India to a level at par with that of its closest allies and partners

The White House also said that the meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Modi resulted in progress on finalising some key defence agreements between India and the US.

“I can tell you that there was important progress on finalising agreements relating to defence logistics, sharing of maritime information, and even the movement of US aircraft carriers in the region,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.

Briefing the media, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said the two sides finalised a “roadmap” under which India can have “better” and “licence-free” access to America’s defence and dual-use technology.

The framework will also ensure that the relationship goes beyond that of sale and collaboration and encompasses the ‘Make in India’ initiative, whereby defense equipment could be manufactured in India through transfer of technology, he added.

Applauding the enhanced military to military cooperation between the two countries especially in joint exercises, training and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Obama and Modi expressed their desire to explore agreements which would facilitate further expansion of bilateral defence cooperation in practical ways.

Officials from two sides said India and the US have finalised of the text of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), which is likely to be signed soon.

The leaders announced the finalization of the text of an Information Exchange Annex under the Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation.

(With inputs from PTI)