Abu Dhabi: Elevating their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, India and the UAE today came down heavily on countries sponsoring terrorism and asked all states to dismantle terror infrastructure, an oblique reference to Pakistan.
Denouncing and opposing terrorism in all forms and manifestations and asking all states to abandon the use of terrorism against other countries, the two sides called for bringing perpetrators of terrorism to justice. References to terrorism in all forms including state-sponsored were the highlight of a 31-point joint statement issued after talks between the UAE Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed AI Nahyan and Narendra Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the strategic Gulf state in 34 years.
Agreeing to boost bilateral cooperation in counter- terrorism operations, intelligence-sharing and capacity building, Modi and the Crown Prince also decided to coordinate efforts to counter radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred and justifying terrorism for pursuing political aims.
The two sides held intensive discussions on strategic bilateral, regional and international issues such as trade, security, threat of terrorism and extremism after which they decided on range of steps including setting up a security dialogue and establishing NSA-level interactions.
Modi also held talks with Ruler of Dubai and UAE Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on a range of issues. During their comprehensive discussions, Modi and the Crown Prince agreed to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity building and decided to work together to control, regulate and share information on flow of funds that could have a bearing on radicalisation activities, the statement said.
The two sides also decided to cooperate in interdicting illegal flows and take action against concerned individuals and organisations. When asked if the issue of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and attaching of his assets in the UAE was discussed as part of taking action against individuals and organisations having a bearing on radicalisation, Foreign Secretary S Jaishanakar did not give a direct reply.
“There was a larger discussion on issues and trends obviously seen as source of instability for the countries and region. In high-level visits of this nature (deal) more with policy decisions,” he said.
Rejecting extremism and any link between religion and terrorism, the two sides condemned efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries. They also deplored 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.
India and the UAE denounced and opposed 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,” the statement said.
The inclusion of this formulation was projected as significant by the Indian side which maintained that it was an obvious reference to Pakistan. Modi, who arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday on a two-day visit, also held meetings with business captains to project India as an attractive investment destination.
At the end of Modi’s meetings, both sides announced elevation of the India-UAE relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership and as part of it they will also manufacture defence equipment in India. They agreed to coordinate efforts to counter radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred, perpetrating and justifying terrorism or pursuing political aims, the joint statement said.
They decided to “strengthen cooperation in law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug trafficking, other trans-national crimes, extradition arrangements, as well as police training and promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention on use of cyber for terrorism, radicalisation and disturbing social harmony,” the statement said.
Establishing a dialogue between their National Security Advisors and National Security Councils, they decided that the National Security Advisors, together with other high-level representatives for security from both nations, will meet every six months.
The two sides will also establish points of contact between their security agencies to further improve operational cooperation. Apart from agreeing to enhance maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean region, which is vital for the security and prosperity of both countries, India and the UAE decided to strengthen defence relations, including through regular exercises and training of naval, air, land and Special Forces, and in coastal defence.
India warmly welcomed UAE’s decision to participate in International Fleet Review in India in February 2016.