‘US will treat Pathankot attack at par with 26/11 Mumbai terror strike’

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Jun 08, 2016 01:46 IST
India’s foreign secretary S Jaishankar briefed the media after the meeting between Indian PM Modi and US President Obama at the White House on June 7, 2016. (ANI)

The United States said on Tuesday that it recognises India as a major defence partner and would treat it at a level similar to the closest allies of the US.

India’s foreign secretary S Jaishankar called it a “notable development” while briefing reporters about the third summit held in Washington on Tuesday between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama.

The US also promised to cooperate with India against terrorist threats from groups such as Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the D company, a reference to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

“In this context, they (the two leaders) directed their officials to identify specific new areas of collaboration at the next meeting of US–India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group,” said a joint statement issued after the talks.

The American side also committed itself to treating Pathankot attack at par with 26/11 terror strike in terms of ensuring punishment to perpetrators based in Pakistan, Jaishankar added.

Giving details of the discussion between PM Modi and President Obama, Jaishankar said that a fair amount of time was spent on how to finance clean energy. He added the two leaders reaffirmed their support for a reformed United Nations Security Council with India as a permanent member and for addressing global development and security challenges.

Jaishankar said that India is looking forward to the acceptance of its application to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group and that the matter will come up for discussion at the end of this month in South Korea.

Earlier on Tuesday, India and the US agreed to begin preparatory work on building six nuclear reactors in India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Barack Obama, who backed New Delhi’s candidature for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India and US firm Westinghouse will immediately begin engineering and site design work for the AP1000 nuclear reactors and conclude contractual arrangements by June 2017.

Obama and Modi welcomed the start of the preparatory work on the reactors, a key step towards closing the first deal based on the landmark US-India civil nuclear deal struck more than a decade ago.

Addressing the media with Modi after their talks at the White House that lasted more than an hour, Obama backed India’s entry into the NSG. “I indicated support to India being a part of NSG,” he said.

India needs technology that is critical for its progress and prosperity, Obama added.

Modi said, “I am thankful for the help and support that my friend President Obama has extended with regard to membership in MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) and NSG.”

Read | India clears final hurdle to join missile control group, can buy high-end tech

During their meeting, Obama and Modi discussed a range of issues, included terrorism, clean energy, climate change, regional security and cyber-security. Obama said it was natural for the two biggest democracies to “deepen and broaden” their partnership. Modi said the two leaders discussed ways to take bilateral economic ties to new heights.

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