UAE joins India to fight terror

Once a strong ally of Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates on Friday joined India not only to condemn “efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and to use terrorism as instrument of state policy”, but also to remind all states their responsibilities to control “so-called non-state actors”. 

In a joint statement issued on the occasion of the visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to New Delhi, India and UAE deplored the use of “double standards” in addressing the menace of international terrorism and agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism both at the bilateral level and within the multilateral system.

Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, had two meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday – one restricted, and another with officials of respective sides. They agreed to step up bilateral cooperation to combat terrorism.

Without directly referring to Pakistan, the UAE joined India to condemn “efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries”.

The traditional close ties between Abu Dhabi and Islamabad suffered a jolt after Pakistan last year decided not to join the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition for targeting the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Abu Dhabi sharply reacted and UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Mohammed Gargash warned Pakistan of having to pay a “heavy price” for taking what he called an “ambiguous stand”.

Modi’s landmark August 2015 tour to Abu Dhabi and Dubai also helped cement India-UAE ties, as the two nations called the visit as the one that marked the “beginning of a new and comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations”. The two nations in August 2015 agreed to “enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity building”.

Building on the synergy between the approaches of the two nations on counter-terrorism, Modi and Sheikh Mohammed on Friday stated that any justification for terrorism and any link between extremism or terrorism and religion should be strongly rejected by the international community.

They also pointed out the “responsibility of all states to control the activities of the so-called ‘non-state actors’ and to cut all support to terrorists operating and perpetrating terrorism from their territories against other states”. The statement came at a time when a move to restart India-Pakistan stalled dialogue came under a shadow following January 2-5 terror attacks on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab and the consulate in Afghanistan.

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