PM Narendra Modi With US President Barack Obama in Washington. (Press Trust of India)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama have agreed to make "joint and concerted efforts" to dismantle safe havens for terror and criminal networks, underlining the need for "continued comprehensive global efforts to combat and defeat terrorism."
But officials made it clear after Prime Minister Modi and President Obama met for over 90 minutes at the Oval Office of the White House yesterday, that India will not join the US-led military campaign against the terror group Islamic State or ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
In their first bilateral summit, PM Modi and President Obama discussed, among other issues, sharing intelligence and cooperating on counter-terrorism measures. "There was great convergence in international matters. We discussed existing terrorism challenges including in south Asia and new threats in west Asia and beyond," Mr Modi said after the meeting.
A joint statement that followed stated that the two countries would now work together to target the financial and tactical support for terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network and the D-company, a reference to Dawood Ibrahim, the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai blasts, who is believed to be in Pakistan.
There were indications that India would seek US help in its efforts to have Dawood extradited to face trial in India.
India and the US also reiterated a call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the terror attack on Mumbai in November 2008 to justice. They discussed expanding military-to-military partnerships and an exchange of civilian and military intelligence
"India is not joining the coalition," foreign ministry spokesman Vikram Doraiswamy said when asked if India would join the US-led strikes on the ISIS, which more than 40 countries have now pledged to join. But he emphasised that the two sides had agreed on the need to deal with "travellers of terrorism" - radicalised people who travel to participate in terror activities in West Asia.
"This is a very major issue for us," he said.