In a strong message to Pakistan, the USA and India on Tuesday said there cannot be good or bad terrorists and Islamabad should withdraw safe havens provided to terror groups.
Addressing a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We can’t, we won’t make distinction between good and bad terrorists; terror is terror no matter where it comes from or who carries it out.”
Swaraj reiterated Kerry’s statement and said, “We agreed that nations must not maintain double standards, such as the categorization of good and bad terrorists. We reaffirmed the urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens provided to LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and D-Company.”
Swaraj said that both Kerry and her agreed that Pakistan needs to fast track actions to nab and bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terror attacks.
She also thanked Washington for its “constant support” for India's membership in NSG.
Addressing the media after plenary session with John Kerry, Swaraj said the interaction has strengthened the US-India relationship and hoped that it contributes to the world at large.
“There was discussion on terror and clearly we agreed on all points,” Sushma said.
Asked by an American journalist about the tension between India and Pakistan and when the dialogue between the two will resume, Swaraj made it clear that "terror and talks will not go hand in hand".
She said India remained ready to have talks with Pakistan but there were legitimate expectations that it will act against terror groups which were carrying out attacks against India including the Pathankot one. "And the talks can only resume if these expectations were met," she added.
Emphasising that it is a well known fact that LeT & Haqqani network have operated from Pakistan, Kerry said that he had talked to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif for the need for Pakistan to deprive any group (terrorist) of sanctuary.
"I have recently spoke to the Prime Minister and General Raheel Sharif regarding the need for Pakistan to deprive any group sanctuaries," Kerry said.
"It is well known that the Haqqani network and others operated out of the western part of the country. LeT, we all know and we all spoken out against had an impact on India, directly. It is vital that Pakistan join with other nations in tackling this challenge, and in fairness, in recent weeks and months they have been moving more authoritatively," he said.
He added that US stands in strong partnership with India against all terrorism.
“Bottom line is that India and US are more deeply engaged on more important issues than at any time in history of our relationship,” Kerry said.
Terrorism, more specifically that emanating from Pakistan, figured prominently in marathon talks between Kerry and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who briefed him extensively on the "continuing problem of cross-border terrorism that India and the larger region face from Pakistan".
At a joint press conference with Kerry after the 2nd Indo- US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD), Swaraj said, "We reaffirmed the urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminal networks including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and D Company.
Kerry said, "I made it very very clear that United States stands in strong partnership with India against all terrorism no matter from where it comes from, no matter what form it takes. As I said there is no good terrorists, bad terrorists. Terrorism is terrorism.
"We stand fully behind the Indian demand that there be justice with respect to the Mumbai attacks, with respect to other. We have had conversation with all of the members of the region frankly about the efforts they need to take to curb terrorism that comes out of their countries.
"That is true of everybody. Anywhere in the world. I think it is crystal clear that US and India are exactly in the similar mind with respect to the issue of terror and the need to not only prevent it but to bring those to justice who perpetrate it."
The two countries also agreed to boost their counter- terrorism cooperation by enhancing intelligence sharing, screening of terrorists, exchange of information on known or suspected terrorists.
They also agreed to continue to work closely to get terrorist entities listed by the UN system, by coordinating the approach to the UN 1267 Committee.
Terming terrorism as a "key challenge to the international community, and the foremost threat to international peace and security", Swaraj noted that there was a "meeting of minds" on this issue between the two sides.
Today's Dialogue comes in the backdrop of unrest in Kashmir with India alleging Pakistan's involvement in it.
Apart from counter-terrorism, the two sides during the Dialogue, which was also co-chaired by Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, discussed issues of commercial, regional and international interests.
Kerry had earlier met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during which issue of Pak-sponsored terrorism was discussed.
India and the US also agreed to restart a three-way dialogue with Afghanistan next month on the sidelines of the UN Genreal Assembly in New York and signed an agreement to combat and counter cyber attacks.
Asked if the close consultation with India on Afghanistan under the trilateral framework may result in Pakistan feeling isolated, Kerry said US appreciates India's involvement in the war-torn country and Pakistan will not feel isolated but encouraged and workout a roadmap for itself in that country.
The two sides also reaffirmed pledges to boost cooperation on climate change and clean energy development, including stepping up efforts on the previously agreed construction of six nuclear reactors by the US firm Westinghouse.