India, UK vow decisive action against terror groups

Asserting that terrorism cannot be associated with any religion, India and the UK on Wednesday vowed to strengthen cooperation in taking decisive action against globally-proscribed terror groups such as Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba.

The strong pledge to combat terror was made during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Theresa May on multiple aspects of the India-UK relations.

A 10 Downing Street statement said that the Syria air strikes, counter-terrorism, radicalisation and online extremism were among the key topics covered by both the leaders during their talks here.

On the issue of combating terrorism, the British Prime Minister told her Indian counterpart that the UK stands as a strategic partner with India in dealing with the menace, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters during a briefing here.

The two leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, including terrorism and terror-related incidents in both India and the UK, a joint statement issued after the talks said.

Modi and Theresa affirmed that terrorism cannot be justified on any grounds and it should not be associated with any religion, creed, nationality and ethnicity, it said.

The leaders agreed that terrorist and extremist organisations need to be denied space to radicalise, recruit and conduct attacks on innocent people and to achieve this end all countries need to work together to disrupt terrorist networks, their financing and movement of terrorists, including foreign terrorist fighters, the statement said.

Modi and Theresa agreed to strengthen cooperation to take "decisive and concerted actions against globally-proscribed terrorists and terror entities to protect our citizens, including Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen, Haqqani Network, al-Qaeda, IS and their affiliates, as well as tackling the online radicalisation and violent extremism which feeds this", it said.

The attack on ex-Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia using a nerve agent last month in Salisbury also found a mention in the joint statement.

"In the wake of the appalling nerve agent attack in Salisbury, the UK and India have reiterated their shared interest in strengthening the disarmament and non-proliferation regimes against the spread and use of chemical weapons," the statement said.

Modi and Theresa also shared their deepest concern over the continued reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the statement said.

"They oppose the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances and are committed to strengthening the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention," it said.

The two leaders emphasised on the need for urgent investigations and underline that the conduct of all investigations of any use of chemical weapons must be strictly in accordance with the provisions of the convention.

India and the UK also agreed to further enhance cooperation to promote international security and stability in cyberspace through a framework that recognises the applicability of international law to state behaviour in a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace, the statement said. 

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