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Press Statement by India-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism

January 22, 2002
New Delhi

The fourth meeting of the India-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism was held on 21-22 January 2002. The Indian delegation was led by Mr. Jayant Prasad, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and the U.S. delegation was headed by Ambassador Francis X. Taylor, U.S. State Department Coordinator for Counter-terrorism. Both delegations included an interagency group of counter-terrorism, law enforcement, defence and finance officials.

The two delegations recalled that India and the United States have been victims of terrible acts of terrorism since their last meeting in June 2001. They welcomed the new international resolve, commitment and partnership in combating the menace of terrorism. They expressed satisfaction with the progress in the global war against terrorism, but recognised that the campaign will be long drawn and multi-faceted, involving political, diplomatic, military, intelligence and financial measures. The two sides emphasised that success in the war against terrorism depended heavily on international cooperation as well as national commitment to renounce use of or support to terrorism. They unequivocally condemned all acts of terrorism, whatever the considerations that may be invoked to justify them, and reaffirmed their nations' commitment to cooperate to prevent acts of terrorism and to eradicate terrorist organisations, which are a threat to international peace and security.

The delegations expressed satisfaction with their cooperation in response to the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September and on the Indian Parliament on 13 December last year. They reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen this cooperation and also noted that all countries have the obligation to cooperate in bringing terrorists to justice. They condemned this morning's attack at the U.S. Consulate in Kolkatta and conveyed their condolence to the families of the victims.

The two delegations expressed their strong support for the full implementation of UNSC Resolution 1373 of September 2001, which provides a comprehensive approach for sustained global and regional cooperation, national responsibility and building domestic capabilities in combating terrorism. In addition, the two sides continued consultations on the India-proposed Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism being discussed in the Sixth Committee of the UNGA, and reiterated support for its finalisation and adoption.

The delegations reviewed the international terrorism situation, including in South Asia, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. They shared their assessment of the impact of the military, financial and other measures taken against terrorist groups and networks after September 11 and December 13. They also exchanged information on legislative, institutional and law enforcement steps that the two governments are taking to strengthen homeland/internal security and agreed to further share experience in this regard at the next meeting of the Joint Working Group. Experts on the two sides had detailed discussions on financing of terrorist activities and agreed that the widespread use of informal channels for financial flows presents a special challenge to governments. They agreed that closer cooperation and strengthening mutual capabilities in cutting off financial flows to terrorist organisations will constitute an important component of their counter-terrorism cooperation.

Counter-terrorism officials on the two sides reviewed the anti-terrorism training and capacity building programmes conducted by the United States. The Indian side welcomed U.S. offer to further expand the programme, covering preventive, protective and consequence management capabilities in both conventional and WMD terrorism. The Indian delegation also welcomed the U.S. pilot project involving equipment and technology to strengthen border management and surveillance. The delegations also discussed forensic cooperation. In addition, the two sides added aviation security to their expanding counter-terrorism agenda. Indian and U.S. officials discussed ways to further strengthen their intelligence and investigative cooperation, including the possibility of access to each other's databases on terrorists.

The delegations welcomed the launch of the Joint Initiative on Cyber-terrorism, agreed on by Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Bush during their meeting in November 2001 in Washington D.C. The U.S. side informed that the Coordinator for Cyber-terrorism in the U.S. National Security Council will visit in the next few weeks for the first round of discussions with his counterpart in the National Security Council Secretariat.

The delegations also welcomed the decision of the India-U.S. Defence Policy Group in December 2001 to add a new emphasis in their defence cooperation on counter-terrorism initiatives, including expanding mutual support in this area. The two sides were briefed by defence officials on the two sides on the cooperative programmes, which will be executed by Subject Matter Expert Exchanges and Joint Combined Exchange Training in the coming months, and other events that will be finalised at the forthcoming meetings of the Executive Steering Groups of the two militaries.

The delegations reaffirmed their commitment to further deepen and expand counter-terrorism cooperation between India and the United States. Ambassador Taylor invited the Indian delegation to Washington D.C. in summer of 2002 for the fifth meeting of the Joint Working Group.