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Joint U.S.- India Statement on Counter-terrorism Working Group

February 8, 2000

Released by the US State Department
Washington, DC

Last month, the United States and India agreed to establish a Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism. The agreement was announced following meetings between Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbott and Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh in London.

The inaugural meeting of the U.S.-India Counter-terrorism Working Group was held today in Washington. Ambassador Michael A. Sheehan, U.S. Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, hosted the meeting at the Department of State. The Indian delegation was headed by Joint Secretary Alok Prasad of the Ministry of External Affairs. Both delegations included an interagency group of counter-terrorism and law enforcement officials. The two sides expressed concern at the growing menace of international terrorism, extremism, and drug trafficking.

The two sides unequivocally condemned all acts, methods, and practices of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious, or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.

The two sides agreed to intensify their joint cooperation to ensure that the perpetrators of the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight 814 are brought to justice, as part of their joint efforts to combat international terrorism.

The Indian government agreed to the U.S. offer of Antiterrorism Assistance programs, the specifics to be determined in future visits. The group also decided to convene a meeting of each side's legal experts in April to discuss the Indian-proposed U.N. Terrorism Convention.

Inter-agency teams from the two countries agreed on a range of measures to enhance cooperation between the two countries to combat international terrorism. The two sides would share experience, exchange information, and coordinate approaches and action.

Both India and the United States have a shared interest in strengthening a regime to counter international terrorism. This working group is intended to enhance the effectiveness of our efforts to counter international terrorism worldwide.

The next meeting of the U.S.-India Counter-terrorism Working Group will be held in India on mutually agreed dates.