Top US counter-terror official to visit India to review regional security

Updated on Dec 09, 2022 02:45 PM IST

US acting coordinator for counterterrorism Timothy Betts will lead the American delegation at the annual meeting of the India-US counter-terrorism joint working group in New Delhi from December 12-13

US acting coordinator for counterterrorism Timothy Betts. (US State Dept.)
US acting coordinator for counterterrorism Timothy Betts. (US State Dept.)

The security situation in the region, including counter-terrorism efforts in the context of Afghanistan and Pakistan, is expected to figure in an upcoming meeting between the US acting coordinator for counterterrorism Timothy Betts and his Indian interlocutors.

Betts will lead the American delegation at the annual meeting of the India-US counter-terrorism joint working group in New Delhi from December 12-13, the US state department said on Friday. India will be the last leg of a three-nation tour by Betts, which includes Japan and the Philippines.

The joint working group will “review regional and global terrorist threat assessments, collaborative bilateral and regional counterterrorism programming, and initiatives to strengthen law enforcement and judicial partnerships”, the state department said.

People familiar with the matter said the situation in Afghanistan, especially the activities of several anti-India terror groups, such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP), and the continued presence of these groups in Pakistan, are expected to figure in the upcoming meeting.

Also Read:Ajit Doval calls for concerted action against terror funding in India’s neighbourhood

In Japan, Betts participated in trilateral counterterrorism discussions on December 8 with senior officials from Australia and Japan. These discussions focused on the “current terrorism landscape, including persistent threats in the Indo-Pacific”.

In the Philippines, he met senior officials from the department of foreign affairs and the Anti-Terrorism Council on Friday to discuss counterterrorism cooperation and the US-Philippines security partnership.

Betts’ visit comes a little more than a month after India hosted a special meeting of the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) in New Delhi in October. The ‘Delhi Declaration’ issued after that meeting described terrorism in all forms and manifestations as one of the most serious threats to global peace and security.

The CTC urged all UN member states to ensure “zero tolerance towards terrorism”, to deny terrorists access to safe havens, and to bring to justice those supporting or planning terror attacks. The meeting also focused on countering the use of new and emerging technologies by terrorists.

Global counter-terrorism will also be a key issue during India’s presidency of the UN Security Council in December as it winds up a two-year stint in the key body.

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