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Can’t have selective approach in fighting terror: India to US

September 27
03:32 2011

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna

NEW YORK: India has conveyed to the US that countries with a “determined position to fight terror” cannot be selective in their approach in dealing with the menace and have to fight the scourge together “across the board”.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna discussed the issue of terror with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a bilateral meeting that lasted here for over 40 minutes.

Terming the meeting as “very good and constructive,” Krishna later told reporters that the two sides spent time on discussing the issue of terrorism and condemned the recent attacks on the American mission in Kabul and at the High Court in New Delhi.

“I made out the point that it is necessary for all those countries which have taken the determined position to fight terror will have to act together and fight it across the board without being selective in our approach,” he said adding that “Secretary Clinton agreed with us.”

The talks also featured concerns over the Haqqani network with the External Affairs Minister pointing out that “whenever terror comes up for discussion, the Haqqani group is certainly a factor which is woven into terrorism.”

On whether America’s recent accusation against ISI for supporting the deadly Haqqani network has brought a sense of unity between India and the US on Pakistan, Krishna said “it is not a question of America agreeing with India and India agreeing with Pakistan.” He said the countries have to see what is “our approach, reaction, response to terror.

“If the position US takes on terror is exactly similar to the position India takes that does not mean to say that they have been converted to our position or we have taken position similar to them.”

The two sides also followed up on the civil nuclear treaty and discussed what needs to be done further.

Clinton urged Krishna to ensure that India’s nuclear liability regime conforms with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear damage; an American official said requesting anonymity.

Krishna and Clinton discussed a host of multilateral issues including the situation in Palestine, Sudan and Syria.

When asked to comment on the divergent views that India and the US have on Syria and Palestine, Krishna said as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said in his address to the UN General Assembly, “We cannot order how nations set their house in order.”

On concerns that momentum of the India-US relations appear to be slowing down, with certain defense contracts not being awarded to US companies, Krishna said this is not an issue by which US would be offended.

He said defense contracts are awarded on basis of merit and are a comparative tabulated evaluation done by a committee of experts. “I do not think anybody can take offence if we chose something else. US has been into this long enough not to misjudge the relationship based only on a particular issue. We will have to take the generality,” he added.

Krishna said he was “quite satisfied” with the outcome of his talks.

Clinton complimented India on its active participation in the New Silk Road initiative to strengthen transit and trade in South and Central Asia.

“The ministers compared notes on the upcoming New Silk Road conference in Istanbul in early November,” the official said.
Later briefing reporters on the 50-minute long bilateral meeting between Krishna and Clinton, Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao said the two sides discussed ways to intensify cooperation in fighting terrorism.

“India and the US have every intention to deepen consultation on issues particularly on the scourge of terrorism that affects both countries,” Rao said.

Describing the meeting as “cordial and constructive”, she said the two sides had wide-ranging and satisfying discussions.

She said counter-terrorism cooperation has acquired “great momentum” in recent months and it was decided that “we should further intensify cooperation under the Counter Terrorism Initiative and Homeland Security dialogue”.

The trend and direction of discussion that India and the US have had on counter terrorism in the last 2-3 years shows that there is “great meeting of minds between the two countries.”

The two countries must intensify their cooperation in terms of technology development and information sharing in order to be better equipped to handle and prevent terror attacks from happening.

Noting that countries cannot have “segmented approach” to any terror group, Rao said counter terrorism cooperation between India and the US is bound to intensify.

Rao added that India and the US have a great deal of “commonality of position” when it came to the situation in the region.

The two sides also discussed the situation in Syria, Palestine, South Sudan, stressing that they would like to see a resolution in these countries without any intensification of conflict and confrontation.

Israel and Palestine have certain conditionalities that they tend to attach to the resumption of negotiations and the challenge will be to see how these differences can be reduced and discussion commence, she said.

“None of us wants a situation where there is total breakdown of communication and where confrontation stares us in the face.”

Rao said India reiterated to the US that welfare of Palestinian people is close to its heart and said that position is understood by the US.

“I do not think there was any tone that would have suggested that this is an issue on which there is tension between our two countries. Focus was on how we can best resolve this issue as responsible countries.”

She said there is “no fundamental divergence” of views on the Israel-Palestine issue, and both India and the US want independent Palestinian state coexisting in peace with Israel.

She said it was important that whatever solution emerges from the situation in the Middle East has to come from within the region itself and not from outside. -PTI

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