Scope to do lot more in area of counter-terrorism: India to US

Scope to do lot more in area of counter-terrorism: India to US
India and the US today discussed terrorism emanating from Pakistan and other issues of strategic importance as well as of commercial interest with New Delhi asserting that there was a "scope to do a lot more" in the area of counter-terrorism.

During the 2nd Indo-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD), co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker here, the two sides also discussed ways to enhance cooperation in key areas of energy and trade and business.

The co-chairs were accompanied by high-level inter-agency delegations. In her initial remarks, Swaraj stressed on the need to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism, saying "there is a scope to do a lot more." Apart from bilateral issues, substantive discussions were held on important regional and global developments including the security situation.

She also stressed on the need to take care of "aspirations and interests" of companies while enhancing bilateral commercial ties. On his part, Kerry noted that the two countries have deepened their cooperation in defence, energy and cyber security.

The US was looking forward to finalise a cyber framework that will help the two countries protect from new global cyber threats, he said. He further said the US would want its civil nuclear cooperation with India to take shape in setting up of reactors that deliver reliable electricity to Indian households. On the commercial front, ease of doing business and visa regimes were among other aspects of trade ties taken up. The two-way trade between the countries stood at about USD 109 billion last year.


Swaraj said in view of the rapidly evolving regional and global situation, India looks forward to resuming the meeting of the Trilateral with Afghanistan; consultations on Africa and on multilateral issues within this year. Asserting that India's enhanced global role was in mutual interest, she said, "It is in this context, we look forward to continue working closely with the US to secure our membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and permanent membership of the UN Security Council."

She also pitched for expansion of defence cooperation to the next stage of co-production and co-development. "For this, we need to define the benefits associated with India's designation as a 'Major Defence Partner' of the US during Prime Minister's visit in June. This would spur defence industry collaboration between India and the US and help India play the desired role as a net provider of security in the region," Swaraj added.

She also said the two sides have been able to conclude a Framework for the India-US Cyber Relationship, the first of its kind both for India and the US, with any other country. She also pitched for a "just and non-discriminatory solution" to the issue of totalisation and recent fee hike for H1B and L1 visa that has "affected our people-to-people exchanges, which was a vital source of strength for our relationship".

Asserting that India attaches high importance to the Dialogue, Swaraj said it develops greater synergy and coherence in the engagements across the spectrum. Reiterating India's commitment for implementation of the Paris Agreement, she said the government was taking steps domestically to compress the timeline for our ratification of the Agreement.

"We hope that the next US Administration will continue to support the Paris Agreement with the same seriousness and purpose as you have done, and that the goal of mobilising USD 100 billion per year from developed countries, will be met with firm support from the US government," she said. Swaraj also talked about the need to step up collaboration in the area of clean energy that will make it viable for us to make quantum transition to renewable energy away from fossil fuel, and achieve our ambitious climate goals.
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