India, Britain ask Pakistan to act against terrorists

modiNew Delhi, (IANS) Britain on Monday joined India in asking Pakistan to act against terrorists who perpetrated the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terror attacks, and reaffirmed its commitment to back India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

In a joint statement after their meeting here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting British Premier Theresa May “reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and the 2016 Pathankot attack to justice”.

May reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to a reformed United Nations Security Council, with India as a permanent member, as well as for an enhanced role for India within the United Nations system.

She said the UK also “continues to be a strong advocate” of an early Indian membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as well as membership of other key Export Control Regimes.

The two leaders called for the adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and laid emphasis on working together on a contemporary and forward-looking global partnership to promote peace, security and prosperity.

They expressed strong commitment to facilitate outstanding extradition requests from both sides.

May strongly condemned the September 18 terror attack on the Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the statement.

“The two leaders strongly affirmed that terrorism is a serious threat to humanity and reiterated strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They stressed there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever — agreeing that there should be zero tolerance against terrorism,” said the statement.

Both countries agreed on collaboration to reduce the threat from extremists’ use of the internet, including sharing the best practices to reduce online radicalisation and recruitment attempts.

They affirmed the fight against terrorism should not only seek to disrupt and bring to justice the terrorists, their organisations and networks, but should also identify and hold accountable and take strong measures against all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues.

On the international affairs, Modi and May noted that a secure and stable Afghanistan will contribute to peace and prosperity in the region, and agreed that a political settlement in Afghanistan has to be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led and will succeed only if the Taliban insurgency abandons violence and abides by democratic norms.

They reaffirmed their support to the people and the government of Iraq and welcomed the Iraqi-led military operation to liberate Mosul and other cities from the control of terror outfit Islamic State.

“We are determined to deepen our trade and investment relationship even further, reinforcing the dynamic and effective collaboration between our governments and business communities, and seizing upon the opportunities for closer cooperation as the UK leaves the European Union,” it said.

The two leaders also welcomed the fourth phase of joint UK-India Civil Nuclear Research Programme which looks at new technologies for enhancing nuclear safety and advanced materials for nuclear systems etc.

The Prime Ministers of India and Britain said they will jointly mark out areas in defence and security for mutual future ambitions for training and cooperation.

They also expressed satisfaction over the progress made to establish an India-UK Sub-Fund under the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

The fund seeks to leverage private sector investment from the City of London to finance Indian infrastructure projects under the NIIF umbrella. The fund is expected to raise around £500 million initially.

Both the governments will be prepared to make an anchor investment of up to £120 million each in the India-UK Sub-Fund, subject to agreement on a structure that maximises investor interest.

They welcomed the agreement for creating the FTSE-SBI India Bonds Index Series, which will support India’s growing corporate bond market.

The two leaders welcomed that the economic and financial agenda will be taken forward by the Finance Ministers of the two countries when they convene the Economic and Financial Dialogue in early 2017.

May announced that the UK is investing over £160 million across 75 start-up enterprises in several states of India and an additional £20 million for a Start-Up India Venture Capital Fund.

Asserting that addressing climate change was a shared objective, they welcomed the ratification of the Paris Agreement by many countries, including India, and called upon prospective member-countries to signal support for the International Solar Alliance on the sidelines of COP22 in Marrakesh on November 15.

The two countries asserted their commitment towards promoting a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace.

Modi welcomed May’s announcement that the UK is to offer new services to improve business travel for Indian visitors to her country.

India will become the first visa country to be offered the Registered Traveller Scheme, offering business travellers expedited clearance at the UK border.

Medaram Jathara

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