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India puts in place working channel with Trump team, discusses Pak terror groups

india Updated: Nov 23, 2016 01:19 IST
Shishir Gupta
India-US ties

President-elect Donald Trump walks through the lobby of the New York Times following a meeting with editors at the paper on November 22.(AFP)

India has established a working channel with the incoming Republican administration in the US, with foreign secretary S Jaishankar interacting with the campaign and transition teams of President-elect Donald Trump, including briefing them on the threat posed by Pakistan-based terror groups in the South Asia region and beyond.

Government sources said National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Jaishankar established a back channel with the Republican candidate even before he won the US election. They had even shared the broad parameters of the September 29 surgical strike through an institutionalised link.

“The link helped as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was able to congratulate President-elect Trump over phone on the eve of his election victory,” said a senior official.

Read: ‘Uncertainty at the regional level’ as US changes under Trump: Jaishankar

South Block sources said that Jaishankar met Trump’s key campaign managers as well as the Republican transition team on November 17-18 in New York.

That India was in touch with President-elect Trump’s close advisors is evident from the way the Republican leader singled out the Indian community in US for praise.

It is understood that Jaishankar sensitised the incoming US team on the global terror threat from Pakistan-based groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen and their involvement in cross-border attacks in India.

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is expected in New Delhi on December 8 with talks focused on the Indian Navy’s acquisition of the Guardian, a variant of the Predator-B drone, for surveillance of Indian Ocean. India plans to buy some 22 non-weaponised Guardian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance as the first step followed by the weaponised version.

Read: Trump’s meeting with Indian partners raises concerns