India and UAE on Thursday discussed the threats posed by the Islamic State (IS), increasing radicalisation of young people, and the need for a joint effort to counter terrorism during wide-ranging talks focusing on deepening security cooperation and expanding bilateral trade. 

    New Delhi also made a strong case for action on pending extradition requests for certain individuals wanted in India. The discussions took place at a ministerial commission meeting, held barely a fortnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE, the first by an Indian PM in 34 years. 

    External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her visiting counterpart Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan co-chaired the meeting.

    The two sides signed MOUs on cooperation in several areas, including higher education and scientific research, tourism, cooperation between the respective telecom regulatory authorities, and also between the FICCI and the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

    A government statement said the two sides agreed to increase bilateral trade by 60% over the next five years and also to encourage the UAE’s investment institutions to raise their stake in India, with an aim of reaching a target of US$ 75 billion.

    The visiting UAE minister also called on Modi and held meetings with defence minister and railways minister before attending a dinner hosted by national security adviser Ajit Doval. PM Modi recalled his successful visit to the UAE and said it had “charted a new course” in bilateral relations that would not only be beneficial for the two countries but also contribute to peace and prosperity in Asia and beyond.

Ahead of Sharif meet, PM prods Pak on terror

  • Varghese K George, Hindustan Times, New York
  • |
  • Updated: Sep 29, 2013 12:20 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned on Saturday that Pakistan must stop being “the epicenter of terrorism” if it wants better ties ahead of his first meeting with Nawaz Sharif.

Singh will sit down with Pakistan’s newly elected premier on the sidelines of the United Nations summit on Sunday.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Singh said he shared Sharif’s hopes for better relations but warned the neighbour must act against terrorism originating from its soil.

“For progress to be made, it is important that the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down,” he said.

In his UN address, Sharif had appealed for a “new beginning” with the historic rival. “Pakistan and India can prosper together. We stand ready to re-engage with India in a substantive dialogue.”

The PM said he supported resolving Kashmir issue, but stood firm that the Himalayan territory is “an integral part of India.”

Singh will meet Sharif with backing from the US as US President Barack Obama promised he would have frank talks with Sharif regarding reining in LeT and other terror outfits.

Indian diplomats sketching the roadmap for a new beginning with Pakistan said the PM would not like talks to be derailed as a result of terror attacks.

While India does not entirely buy the narrative that equates Pakistan with India as a victim of terror, it is more sensitive to the limitations of the civilian government there. At the same time, India does not absolve the Pakistani government of its responsibilities.

“India is committed sincerely to resolving all issues with Pakistan, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, through bilateral dialogue on the basis of the Shimla Agreement.  However, for progress to be made, it is imperative that Pakistan and the areas under its control are not utilised for aiding and abetting terrorism directed against India,” the PM said, on the lines of his discussions with Obama.

The PM rejected Sharif’s call at the UNGA for self-determination for the people of Kashmir.

“There must be a clear understanding of the fact Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that there can never, ever, be a compromise with the unity and territorial integrity of India,” he told the UNGA, drawing the lines for the bilateral talks.

Significantly in this context, Obama discussed with Singh whether the Pakistani army would be willing for a “strategic reassessment” of its priorities.

“They reaffirmed their commitment to eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, and disrupting terrorist networks including al-Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Taiba,” said a joint India-US statement issued after Singh and Obama met.


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