India, US seek elimination of terror havens

Washington, May 22 (IANS) India and the US have called upon all nations – without naming any country – to take effective steps to work toward eliminating sanctuaries and infrastructure that supports terrorism and to increase efforts to counter violent extremism.

The call was made in a joint communiqué issued after the Second US-India Homeland Security Dialogue here Tuesday co-chaired by Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

The communiqué reaffirmed the two nations’ own “commitment to, and importance of, bilateral homeland security cooperation on common challenges faced such as terrorism, and countering violent extremism.”

India and the US also agreed to enhance cooperation between their officials in appropriate multilateral fora in among other things “combating the flow of illicit finances and currency counterfeiting” and “in countering terrorism and promoting cybersecurity.”

The two nations would enhance bilateral cooperation “to ensure mutual security and combat common threats, including through the collaboration of law enforcement agencies, improving bilateral cooperation including the development and application of innovative technology.”

Expressing satisfaction with progress made, both leaders endorsed areas of further engagement in each of the six Homeland Security Dialogue Sub-Groups, the communiqué said.

These are (a) Megacities Policing; (b) Combating Illicit Finance, Bulk Cash Smuggling, and Counterfeiting; (c) Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection; (d) Port, Border, Maritime, Transportation and Supply Chain

Security; (e) Science and Technology Cooperation; and (f) Capacity Building.

In advancing the goals of these subgroups, the US and India would endeavour to enhance cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection engagement, the communiqué said.

For this they agreed to hold a series of training courses on countering illicit financing through Homeland Security department’s Cross Border Financial Investigations Training Programme.

They would also organize a conference on the best practices and lessons learned in the context of megacities policing within the next year; and to identify areas in which the India and US can work together on science and technology development and its application in the homeland security context.

The two countries “will explore areas in which to share best practices and lessons learned by both countries on how to enhance the ability of federal, state and local police to better detect, prevent and respond to acts of violent extremism including a focus on how the Internet is used to recruit or facilitate these types of attacks.”

Agreeing to continue to maintain a regular dialogue on homeland security issues, Shinde and Napolitano “also endorsed pursuing a robust, bilaterally-developed schedule of events and collaborative activities with the goal of meeting the security needs of both countries.”

These dialogues followed President Barack Obama’s visit to India in November 2010, and are part of an ongoing process to further a global strategic partnership between the US and India, the communiqué said.

Shinde also met Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert S. Muller and the US Attorney General Eric Holder, before leaving for Boston, where he is expected to be briefed on the investigation of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing.

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