New Delhi: India and France, having suffered repeated terror strikes, today decided to step up their anti- terror cooperation including intelligence sharing and called on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of Pathankot to justice. During their extensive talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting French President Francois Hollande asked for decisive actions to be taken against Lashkar-e-Tayibba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda.
“From Paris to Pathankot, we saw the gruesome face of the common challenge of terrorism…I also commend the strength of your resolve and action these terrorist attacks. President Hollande and I have agreed to scale up the range of our counter-terrorism cooperation in a manner that helps us to tangibly mitigate and reduce the threat of extremism and terrorism to our societies.
“We are also of the view that the global community needs to act decisively against those who provide safe havens to terrorists, who nurture them through finances, training and infrastructure support,” Modi said at a joint press event with Hollande. Agreeing on the imperative of having a comprehensive approach to address terrorism, the two sides resolved to step up their bilateral cooperation, under the supervision of annual strategic dialogues and joint working group on counterterrorism meetings, to counter violent extremism and radicalization, a joint statement said.
It further said that India and France will cooperate to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent supply of arms to terrorists,
“To this end, they committed to further develop exchanges in the fields of intelligence, finance, justice and police. They welcomed the strengthening of the cooperation between Indian and French counter terrorism authorities and units, in particular between their cybersecurity experts,” it said. They aslo stressed that terrorism cannot be justified under any circumstance, regardless of its motivation, wherever and by whomsoever it is committed.
“Condemning the recent terror attacks in Pathankot and Gurdaspur in India, the two countries reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring to justice their perpetrators and the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which also caused the demise of two French citizens, and to ensure that such attacks do not recur in the future,” the statement said.
The two sides noted that terrorist activities and proxies supported from safe havens across Afghanistan’s borders pose a grave threat to peace, security and stability of Afghanistan.
In this regard, they emphasized the need to address this challenge by dismantling terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens and disrupting all financial and other support for terrorist groups and individuals.
Recognising the urgent need to disrupt terrorist networks and their financing channels, eliminate terrorist safe havens, training infrastructure and cross-border movement of terrorists, Modi and Hollande urged all countries to effectively deal with terrorism emanating from their territory or territories under their control.
“They called for actions to be taken, consistent with international law, against all entities, including States, that sponsor, provide support, active or passive, to terrorist groups or harbour them,” a separate joint statement on counter terrorism said.
The two sides emphasized that durable peace and political reconciliation in Afghanistan require maintaining continued international support to the efforts led and owned by Government of Afghanistan.
President Hollande commended India for its stabilizing role in South Asia, in particular in Afghanistan, and its recent initiative to launch a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan. They reaffirmed their commitment to the key principles of a peaceful inter-Afghan dialogue: acceptance of the Afghan Constitution, renunciation of violence and severing links with terrorism.
Reaffirming that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group, the two sides agreed to coordinate efforts to better understand radicalization processes, and counter the misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred, perpetrating and justifying terrorism or pursuing political aims.
They agreed to facilitate regular exchanges of civil society to promote the values of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and welfare. They reaffirmed their shared conviction and confidence that the values of humanism will prevail in countering the malicious propaganda of hatred and intolerance espoused by the divisive forces of extremism and terrorism.