India-U.S. Statement on Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism
India and the United States have institutionalized their co-operation to combat international terrorism through a Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism. The first meeting of the Joint Working Group was held on February 7-8, 2000 in Washington. This Joint Working Group is also part of the wide-ranging architecture of institutional dialogue established by the two sides during the visit of President Clinton to India in March 2000.
During the recent visit of Prime Minister Vajpayee to the United States, Prime Minister and President Clinton reaffirmed the importance of this Working Group for intensifying co-operation between the two countries to combat international terrorism. The two leaders also decided to expand the mandate of the Joint Working Group to include discussion on such issues as narco-terrorism and Afghanistan.
The second meeting of the Joint Working Group was held on September 25-26, 2000 in New Delhi. Mr. Alok Prasad, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs led the Indian delegation. Ambassador Michael A. Sheehan, U.S. Coordinator for Counter-terrorism led the U.S. delegation. Both delegations included an interagency group of counter-terrorism and narco-terrorism law enforcement officials. Ambassador Sheehan also called on the Foreign Secretary, the Home Secretary, and other senior officials.
The two sides expressed concern at the growing menace of international terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking. The two sides unequivocally condemned all acts, methods, and practices of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious, or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.
The Indian Government welcomed further Antiterrorism Assistance programs from the U.S., the specifics to be determined in future visits, and the increased levels of counter-narcotics training and assistance. The Group expressed support for a comprehensive UN Convention on Terrorism and hoped that there would soon be an international consensus on the text of the proposed convention in the Sixth Committee of the UN.
Inter-agency teams from the two countries agreed on a range of measures to enhance cooperation between the two countries to combat international terrorism. The two sides would share experience, exchange information, and coordinate approaches and action.
Both India and the United States have shared interests in strengthening a regime to counter international terrorism. This Joint Working Group is intended to enhance the effectiveness of our bilateral co-operation and the international efforts to counter terrorism worldwide.
The next meeting of the India-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism will be held in Washington on mutually agreed dates.
September 26, 2000
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