Obama likely to seek Modi's support against IS

Last Updated 24 September 2014, 07:38 IST

US President Barack Obama is expected to seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi's support in his effort to create a global coalition against Islamic State terror group that has gained control over large swaths of Syria and Iraq, almost equal in size of Britain.

So far, more than 40 countries have joined the US-led international coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the Islamic State (IS) as it is better known across the globe.

The US and its partner countries on Monday started air strikes against ISIL positions in Syria.

However, the US officials, including Obama, insist that this is not a military coalition and countries can contribute in their own way.

Modi is scheduled to meet Obama at the White House on September 29 over a private dinner, and the next morning at the Oval Office for the official meeting during which the issue of ISIL is "definitely" expected to come up for discussion.

Officials familiar with the preparations of the Modi-Obama summit acknowledged that ISIL would be part of discussion between the two leaders, during which they are likely to touch upon the current situation in the Middle East.

Obama, as he has been doing with other global leaders, is expected to urge Modi to join the international coalition against the IS terrorist outfit, which if left unchallenged poses a major threat to the security and stability of the region and the world.

The White House, however, has refused to make any comment on the substance of discussion between Obama and Modi next week.

"As we've said, we believe there is a role for all countries to play. Beyond that, I'm not in position to preview the substance of the visit yet," Caitlin Hayden, Spokesperson of the National Security Council of the White House told PTI.

Obama, in New York yesterday, held a meeting with Arab nations which participated in the air strikes against ISIL.

"I just came from a meeting in which we were actually able to get Arab countries, many of which have historically been on opposite sides of issues and sectarian conflicts in the region, all united around fighting ISIL and eradicating the ideology, the extreme fanaticism that underlies what's happening in ISIL," Obama told a Democratic Party fund raiser.

In his meeting with coalition partners, Obama said the emergence of ISIL has threatened lives of people.

ISIL militants have executed two American journalists and a British aid worker in Syria, prompting the West to join hands to combat the terror group.

"Because of the almost unprecedented effort of this coalition, I think we now have an opportunity to send a very clear message that the world is united; that all of us are committed to making sure that we degrade and ultimately destroy not only ISIL, but also the kinds of extremist ideologies that would lead to so much bloodshed," he said.

The United States is going to need the cooperation of many countries to cut off ISIL financing and to stop the flow of foreign fighters, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

The Obama Administration has been reaching out to countries asking them to join the international coalition against ISIL.

However, it has left for the individual countries to make their own announcement in this regard.

Officials from both the US and India have remained silent on this issue.

Thus far, it has been the principled position of the Indian government not to join any international coalition which has not been approved by the United Nations Security Council.

(Published 24 September 2014, 07:38 IST)

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