The United States and India on Thursday asked Pakistan to take urgent steps to ensure that its land is not used for terror activities and punish the perpetrators of terror attacks, including those that took place in Mumbai and Pathankot.

The two countries issued a joint statement after the 17th meeting of the US-India Counter Terrorism Joint Working Group and the third session of the US-India Designations Dialogue, which was held virtually from September 9 to 10. The Indian delegation was led by Mahaveer Singhvi, who is the joint secretary for counter terrorism in the Ministry of External Affairs, while the American side was headed by Nathan Sales, the State Department coordinator for counterterrorism.

“The two sides underlined the urgent need for Pakistan to take immediate, sustained, and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for terrorist attacks, and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot,” India and US said. “The US reiterated its support for the people and government of India in the fight against terrorism.”

US and India said they denounce cross-border terrorism in all its forms. “They exchanged views on threats posed by UN [United Nations]-sanctioned terrorist entities and emphasized the need for concerted action against all terrorist networks, including al-Qa’ida, ISIS [Islamic State]/Daesh, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb-ul Mujahideen,” the statement said.

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The countries agreed to cooperate on measures to curtail terror activities. “There was a joint commitment to strengthen cooperation on information sharing and other steps to disrupt the ability of international terrorists to travel, consistent with the important provisions and obligations outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2396,” India and US said.

They also highlighted their efforts to address some of the world’s most pressing counter terrorism challenges, “including countering the financing and operations of terrorist organizations, countering radicalization and terrorist use of the internet, cross-border movement of terrorists and prosecuting, rehabilitating, and reintegrating returning terrorist fighters and family members”, the statement added. “The two sides discussed mutual legal and extradition assistance, bilateral law enforcement training and cooperation.”

Pakistan has been facing increasing global criticism for failing to check terror activities. In June, global terror-financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force had said that it would keep Pakistan in the “grey list” for failing to check the flow of funds to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

On June 24, the US had released its Congressional-mandated 2019 Country Reports on Terrorism, in which it accused Pakistan of remaining a “safe harbour” for regional terrorist groups. India has also repeatedly accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism.

Pakistan was put on FATF’s “grey list” in 2018 and given a 27-point action plan to implement in order to be taken off the list. In October 2019, the watchdog indicted Pakistan for failing to deliver on 22 out of 27 targets. The task force also warned Pakistan that it would be blacklisted if it failed to achieve set targets to check terror financing by February 2020.

Pakistan encouraging culture of violence, says India at UN

India on Thursday accused Pakistan of “fomenting” a culture of violence at home and across the borders and also criticised the country for its treatment of religious minorities, PTI reported.

India’s rebuttal came after Pakistan’s UN envoy Munir Akram brought up Jammu and Kashmir, the Babri Masjid demolition and the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya at the ‘Culture of Peace’ forum.

“Unfortunately, we have witnessed another attempt by the delegation of Pakistan to exploit a UN platform for hate speech against India,” Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, Paulomi Tripathi said. “This happens at a time when Pakistan continues to foment a culture of violence at home and across its borders,” Tripathi said.

Tripathi added: “Pakistan’s deplorable human rights records and discriminatory treatment of religious and ethnic minorities is a cause of persistent concern for the international community.”