US lawmakers seek more internal-security cooperation with India

Washington, May 21 (IANS) Ahead of the second US-India Homeland Security dialogue here Tuesday, the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans has sought expanded cooperation between the two countries on internal security issues.

Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who arrived here Sunday, will be co-chairing the dialogue with the US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. He will also meet Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert S. Muller and the US Attorney General Eric Holder, before leaving for Boston Tuesday evening.

The FBI and Boston police is expected to brief Shinde on the investigation of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing.

“The United States and India share common interests in confronting extremism and international terrorism, and common values in defending our democracies from attack,” wrote 13 lawmakers in a letter to Napolitano

“The upcoming dialogue presents an important opportunity to further advance communication and coordination between our two countries,” wrote Republican Peter Roskam and Democrat Joe Crowley, co-chairs of the caucus and 11 other lawmakers.

“Over the past five years, the United States and India have increased our mutual efforts at protecting our respective homelands, including in areas such as information sharing, sharing of data related to terrorism and urgent threats and investigation of currency counterfeiting,” they wrote.

“While the importance of this cooperation came into greater focus after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, we believe that cooperation should be expanded as broadly as possible, including in areas of transportation security, training, technology cooperation and communications.”

A bi-partisan group formed in 1993, the Caucus is an influential voice on issues pertaining to relations between the US and India, as well as the growing Indian-American community in the US.

Meanwhile, Shinde Monday met with the National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) Director Mathew G. Olsen and was given a presentation on the role and the functioning of NCTC, according to the Indian Embassy here.

He also visited the Fairfax County Adult Detention Centre and was given a tour and presentation on the functioning and management of the correctional facility in the US.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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