India and the US have discussed ongoing “collaboration” against Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed and similar threats, and reviewed other aspects of the relationship.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar is in the US for a string of meetings in the run-up to the Nuclear Security Summit in March-April, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is attending.
When Jaishankar met US National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Tuesday, the two sides discussed “US-India collaboration against Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and other terrorist threats”, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
They “affirmed their commitment to deepening bilateral cooperation on climate change, trade, and defence, and noted preparations for the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit”, he said.
It couldn’t immediately be confirmed if the two countries had used the formulation “collaboration” for the first time to describe their cooperation to combat terrorism, and if it meant going beyond intelligence-sharing.
“This means, at the least, there is growing recognition of the threat from terrorism and that pressure will continued to be exerted on Pakistan to do more,” an Indian official said.
There has been considerable disquiet lately in New Delhi about the Obama administration’s decision to push ahead with the sale of eight F-16 combat jets to Pakistan, overlooking Islamabad’s sketchy record on combating terrorism. That’s a sentiment shared by a large number of US lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.
President Obama himself said in an interview to PTI that he believes Pakistan can do more to fight terrorism, but officials in the administration have said privately and in public that they believe Islamabad is earnest.
India doesn’t buy that, not with attacks from Pakistan-based terrorists continuing. Jaish-e-Mohammed operatives attacked an Indian airbase in Pathankot in January, killing seven security personnel.