India and the US called on Pakistan on Tuesday to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, while reiterating the threat posed by the D-Company, Lashkar-e-Taiba, al Qaeda and Haqqani network.
India has repeatedly alleged the groups operate from safe havens in Pakistan, with the exception of al Qaeda, which has bases elsewhere in the world. The 2008 militant assault on India's financial capital Mumbai had killed 166 people and injured 293 people.
India and the US "reiterate the threat posed by al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-i-Muhammad, D-Company and Haqqani network and other regional groups that seek to undermine stability in south Asia", the two countries said in a joint statement issued after the conclusion of the first India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.
"We strongly condemn the July 27, 2015 terrorist attack in Gurdaspur in Punjab and August 5, 2015 attack in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir," the joint statement said. India has blamed Pakistan-based terrorists for both attacks.
"This demonstrates the fact that we are determined to fight terrorism together," India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said in response to a question at an address she made jointly with commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US secretary of state John Kerry and his cabinet colleague commerce secretary Penny Pritzker.
The need for a separate declaration on counter-terrorism, said Indian officials, demonstrated the “salience” attached to the issue by both sides — “it makes a statement of principle”. Cooperation in this sphere would normally have figured in an overarching joint statement earlier, covering everything from health to science and technology cooperation.
The two sides were discussing some of the most complicated issues of the day, said Kerry as he and Swaraj led their high-level delegations for the first India-US strategic and commercial dialogue at the State Department.
The US said the dialogue had nothing to do with China and it never came up during the conversation.
Kerry, however, clarified that the two countries' "common accord" on South China Sea - both support peaceful resolution of all disputes in the area - could be "tangentially argued" that there is a message for China. "But this is message to all countries."
This was the first edition of elevated strategic dialogue, which the two nations had been hosting alternately, to include commerce in order to realise the full potential of the relationship.
Agreements and decisions include an MoU on energy security, climate change, joint training of troops in six African nations before they are deployed on UN peacekeeping missions.
The two countries also reaffirmed "joint commitment to a stable and sovereign Afghanistan and identify next steps", said Kerry at the news briefing.