U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have called on Pakistan to “ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries,” the White House said.
According to a statement released after the two held their first face-to-face meeting in Washington on June 26, they also pledged to strengthen cooperation against threats including Pakistan-based militant groups Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
New Delhi has blamed Pakistan-based militants for attacks in recent years on Indian territory.
The White House also said India “appreciated” the decision by the United States to declare top Kashmiri militant Syed Salahuddin a “specially designated global terrorist.”
Hours before Modi’s arrival, the State Department imposed sanctions on Salahuddin, also known as Mohammed Yusuf Shah, the Pakistan-based leader of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the main rebel group that fights against Indian control in the Himalayan region of Kashmir.
The move effectively blocks Salahuddin from transactions in the United States.
It was a diplomatic victory for India, which has been battling a decades-long insurgency in the divided region claimed in full by both Pakistan and India.
Speaking at the White House after their talks, Trump said India has agreed to partner with the United States in the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism” and he thanked Modi for purchasing some $2.4 billion worth of military aircraft.
The Trump administration is for the first time selling to India the same sophisticated defense technology previously provided only to the closest U.S. allies. It includes drones that India has said it will use for surveillance over the Indian Ocean, where China’s navy has an increasing presence.
The White House has maintained that the unarmed drone sales pose no threat to Pakistan.
It was not clear whether the moves announced by Trump signal a tougher U.S. policy toward Pakistan. In reviewing its strategy on Afghanistan, the administration has been reported to be considering taking a harder stand against Pakistan for harboring militants on its territory.
“Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism, and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them. We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said alongside Modi.
Modi stressed the importance of “doing away” with terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens.
The two also discussed improving trade links.
Trump has decried India’s large trade surplus with the United States and accused India of seeking to profit from the Paris climate agreement when he announced this month that his country was withdrawing from the accord. That prompted sharp denials from New Delhi.
Trump’s proposed overhaul of a U.S. visa program used by thousands of Indian software engineers to work in the United States also has caused concern in New Delhi. RFE/RL
With reporting by AP, AFP, and BBC
The Afghan Tribune | RFE/RL | Published: June 29, 2017, 02:46 AM