India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday turned to the same page on terror, calling all nations to reject the use of terrorism and bring perpetrators of such violence to justice.
A joint statement issued at the end of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day tour of the Gulf nation is seen as a veiled message for Pakistan which New Delhi accuses of fostering anti-India militancy.
After his talks with UAE’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the two nations condemned efforts, including by countries, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other nations.
Both countries decided to “work together to control, regulate and share information on flow of funds that could have a bearing on radicalisation activities and cooperate in interdicting illegal flows and take action against concerned individuals and organizations”.
This will help India corner dangerous fugitives such as Dawood Ibrahim, who is believed to be holed up in Pakistan and own properties in the UAE.
The statement said all “terrorism infrastructure” wherever they exist should be dismantled.
“Denounce and oppose terrorism in all forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, calling on all states to reject and abandon the use of terrorism against other countries, dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they exist, and bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice,” it said.
New Delhi has pressed Islamabad for long to dismantle terrorist infrastructure on its soil that plans and directs attacks on India. It has also been pushing Pakistan to expedite the trial against the planners of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The India-UAE statement came amid relentless Pakistani shelling at Indian border villages in Jammu and Kashmir and ahead of a meeting between the national security advisers of the two neighbours, scheduled for August 23.
“We also deplore efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and disputes, including in West and South Asia, and use terrorism to pursue their aims,” it said.
The strong language of the communiqué signals a shift in ties between India and the UAE which have robust economic relations but limited cooperation on security and counter-terrorism measures.
The most important takeaway for Modi, the first Indian PM to visit the UAE in 34 years, was an Arab nation’s support to India’s concern over terrorism.
The UAE agreed to adopt India’s proposed comprehensive convention on international terrorism (CCIT) in the UN, which could pave the way for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), comprising 57 countries, to follow suit.
In his address at the 69th UN General Assembly in September 2014, Modi had appealed for the adoption of the CCIT, which is a proposed treaty to bind together the existing framework of counter-terrorism agreements into a single system and deny safe haven to terrorists.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar shed light on the emphasis to counter-terrorism measures such as a meeting between the national security advisers of India and the UAE every six months, intelligence sharing and extradition arrangements.
“The threat of terrorism is common to both countries. This includes not the non-state actors, but states sponsoring terrorism.” The UAE is driven by its own troubles such as radicalisation and threats from Islamic State and al Qaeda offshoots active in the region.
For its part, India has all along held that UAE cities were active recruitment grounds for the Indian Mujahideen.
Many in India also feel the UAE could have done more in the IC-814 hijack case in 1999 when the aircraft was allowed to land at Al Minhad air force base, 40 miles from Dubai, after much persuasion.