FO rejects ‘unwarranted reference’ to Pakistan in India-US joint statement after ministerial talks

The joint statement was issued as a part of the fourth ‘2+2’ dialogue between India and the United States, which ended yesterday in Washington DC. India’s external affairs and defence ministers, S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh, held meetings with their US counterparts, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

In the statement, US and India called on Pakistan to take “immediate, sustained, and irreversible action” to ensure that no territory under its control was used for terrorist attacks.

“[India] strongly condemned any use of terrorist proxies and cross-border terrorism in all its forms and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, and Pathankot attack, to be brought to justice,” the statement — issued by the US Embassy and Consulates in India — reads.

According to The Indian Express, the 2+2 dialogue is a format of talks between the foreign and defence ministers of India and its allies on strategic and security issues. India holds dialogues on this format with four of its strategic partners — US, Russia, Australia, and Japan.

In the joint statement issued yesterday after the meeting, both countries called for concerted action against all terrorist groups, including those proscribed by the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee, such as al Qaeda, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb ul Mujahideen.

“The ministers committed to continued exchange of information about sanctions and designations against terror groups and individuals, countering violent radicalism, use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, and cross-border movement of terrorists,” it read.

India also emphasised the importance of upholding international standards on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism by all countries, consistent with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.

“The ministers also reaffirmed their support for the early adoption of a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that advances and strengthens the framework for global cooperation and reinforces that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism,” the statement added.

According to Radio Pakistan, the Foreign Office in Islamabad today rejected the statement and called it a “betrayal to the counter-terrorism focus of both countries”.

“It is unfortunate that a bilateral cooperation mechanism is being used to target a third country for political expediency and to mislead public opinion away from the real and emerging terrorism threats. The assertions made against Pakistan in the statement are malicious and lack any credibility.”

The Foreign Office said Pakistan had remained a major, proactive, reliable and willing partner of the international community in the global fight against terrorism over last two decades. “Pakistan’s successes and sacrifices in countering terrorism are unparalleled and widely acknowledged by the international community, including the United States. No country in the region has sacrificed more for peace than Pakistan,” it stated.

The FO expressed that India’s insinuations against Pakistan were a desperate attempt to conceal its state-terrorism and brutal atrocities against the subjugated Kashmiris in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

“Responsible members of the international community must condemn India’s use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy and the impunity that continues to be associated with it,” it urged, adding that India’s terrorism network using the soil of other countries through supporting UN-designated terrorist organisations, was on record.

“Failing to take cognizance of this serious situation is tantamount to abdication of international responsibility,” the FO highlighted.

“Pakistan expects and urges partner countries to adopt an objective view of the issues of peace and security in South Asia and refrain from associating themselves with positions that are one-sided, politically motivated, and divorced from ground realities,” it further stated.

The FO added that its concerns regarding the statement had been conveyed to the US side through diplomatic channels.

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