Hailing the joint statement of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the involvement of Pakistan in encouraging terrorism, the Janata Dal (United) on Wednesday expressed hope that America changes its relative neutrality policy with Islamabad.
“I don’t know whether the assurances Kerry gave were equivalent to the emphasis with which the matter seems to have been made by Sushma Swaraj. I hope the United States changes its policy of relative neutrality as far as Pakistan is concerned, without understanding that terrorism is terrorism and is a danger to the world…be it India or the United States,” JD (U) leader Pawan Verma told ANI.
Expressing happiness that Swaraj spoke “bluntly” on the question of terrorism, Verma said this is a subject that India needs to discuss with the United States frankly and seek U.S. intervention in leveraging and pressuring Pakistan to stop its support to terrorism. Resonating similar sentiments, another JD (U) leader K.C. Tyagi also welcomed the joint statement.
“I welcome the joint statement of John Kerry and Sushma Swaraj. Through Kerry, I would like to request the U.S. Government to be careful while helping Pakistan so that it does not fall into bad hands,” Tyagi told ANI.
The United States and India have agreed to boost counter-terrorism cooperation by expanding intelligence sharing about known or suspected extremists and terrorist threats. Speaking after conclusion of the second US-India Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday said both countries also renewed their commitment to track down and prosecute perpetrators of several terrorist attacks on Indian soil, including the 2008 strike in Mumbai and a January 2016 attack on the Pathankot Air Force base.
India has blamed Pakistan-linked groups for the attacks. Swaraj said the two sides had agreed on the “urgent necessity for Pakistan to disable safe havens and terrorist networks” and “on the need to Pakistan to do more to bring the perpetrators of (the two attacks) to justice quickly.”
“We reaffirmed the urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminals networks, including LeT, JeM and the D-Company,” she said. On his part, Kerry said, “The U.S. continues to support all efforts to bring the perpetrators of 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot attacks to justice.”
Echoing the Indian foreign minister’s remark, Kerry also said that the U.S. can’t and won’t make a distinction between good and bad terrorists.
“U.S. stands with India on all matters of terrorism, no matter where it comes from; it’s crystal clear we are on the same view over it,” he said. But he did say he had spoken recently with Pakistani officials about “the need for Pakistan to deprive any (terrorist) group of sanctuary.”
He specifically named the Haqqani network that operates in Afghanistan as well as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been blamed for attacks in India. “It is vital that Pakistan join with other nations in tackling this challenge, and in fairness, in recent weeks and months they have been moving more authoritatively,” Kerry said.