In a US-India Joint Leaders’ Statement issued after the first in-person bilateral meeting between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Friday, the two leaders discussed various issues — from Afghanistan to cross-border terror and COVID-19.
Both Modi and Biden expressed "deep pride" and appreciation about their nations' close cooperation to fight the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, as they noted that all sections of the society were mobilised in unprecedented ways to share emergency relief supplies during each country’s times of need.
On the front of cross-border terrorism, India and the US have said that they will take concerted action against all terrorist groups, including groups proscribed by the UN as they condemned cross-border terrorism and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice.
India and the US called on the Taliban to adhere to its commitments and respect the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children and minority groups, and asked the new rulers in Kabul to make sure that the war-torn country’s territory is never again used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists.
Biden also reaffirmed his "unwavering commitment" to India as a Major Defence Partner through close engagements, including information sharing and strengthening cooperation in advanced military technologies.
Afghan soil must not be used to attack any country
The two leaders resolved that the Taliban must abide by UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021) which demands that Afghan territory must never again be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or finance terrorist attacks, and underscored the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan, according to the joint statement.
The UN Security Council resolution 2593 on Afghanistan, adopted under India’s Presidency of the 15-nation Council in August, had demanded that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts, and reiterated the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan, including those individuals and entities designated pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999), and noted the Taliban’s relevant commitments.
President Biden and Prime Minister Modi called on the Taliban to adhere to these and all other commitments, including regarding the safe, secure, and orderly departure from Afghanistan of Afghans and all foreign nationals and to respect the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and members of minority groups, the statement said.
The Taliban, which took control of Kabul on 15 August, have put in place a hardline interim 33-member Cabinet that has no women and includes UN-designated terrorists. The Taliban last ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
The two leaders also emphasised the importance of efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and called on the Taliban to allow full, safe, direct and unhindered access for the UN, its specialised agencies and implementing partners, and all humanitarian actors engaged in humanitarian relief activity, including with respect to internally displaced persons, it said.
Reflecting their long-term commitment to promoting development and economic opportunity for the Afghan people, they determined to continue to closely coordinate and work jointly with partners toward an inclusive and peaceful future for all Afghans, the statement added.
Deep pride on close cooperation between India, US to fight COVID
"President Biden and Prime Minister Modi expressed deep pride and appreciation about their nations’ close cooperation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, as governments, civil society, businesses, and diaspora communities mobilised in unprecedented ways to share emergency relief supplies during each country’s times of need," said a joint statement issued after the bilateral meeting between the two leaders on Friday.
Having administered hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine to protect their own citizens at home and abroad, Biden and Modi reiterated their commitment to lead the global effort to end the coronavirus pandemic, it said.
President Biden welcomed India’s announcement that it will resume exports of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines including to COVAX.
"Both the leaders also hailed the finalisation of the overarching Memorandum of Understanding on Health and Biomedical Sciences to bolster cooperation on key areas affecting global health, including pandemic preparedness and biomedical research, to reduce the risk of future pandemics," the statement said.
Modi welcomed Biden’s initiative to convene the Global COVID-19 Summit on Ending the Pandemic and Building Back Better to Prepare for the Next, given the two countries shared commitment to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it said.
'Perpetrators of 26/11 attacks to be brought to justice'
A Joint Statement issued after the first bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday said that the United States and India stand together in a shared fight against global terrorism.
The two leaders reaffirmed that the United States and India "will take concerted action against all terrorist groups, including groups proscribed by the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee."
They "condemned cross-border terrorism, and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice. They denounced any use of terrorist proxies and emphasised the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terror attacks," the joint statement said.
India has repeatedly called upon Pakistan to take credible, verifiable and irreversible action against terrorist networks and to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice.
The two sides noted that the upcoming US-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group, Designations Dialogue, and renewed US-India Homeland Security Dialogue will further strengthen counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries, including in the areas of intelligence sharing and law enforcement cooperation, the joint statement said.
US reaffirms 'unwavering commitment' to India as major defence partner
The two leaders also welcomed the deepening of advanced industrial cooperation and noted the recent project to co-develop air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative, and encouraged more such joint efforts.
"President Biden reaffirmed the strength of the defence relationship between the United States and India and the unwavering commitment to India as a major defence partner through close defence engagements in information sharing, sharing of logistics and military-to-military interactions, strengthening cooperation in advanced military technologies, and expanding engagements in a multilateral framework including with regional partners," said a joint statement issued after the bilateral meeting.
In 2016, the United States designated India as a Major Defence Partner. Commensurate with this designation, in 2018, India was elevated to Strategic Trade Authorisation Tier 1 status, which allows India to receive license-free access to a wide range of military and dual-use technologies regulated by the Department of Commerce.
The leaders called upon the government and private stakeholders to use the existing ecosystems of innovation and entrepreneurship in defence industries for co-development, co-production and expanding mutual defence trade.
"They also looked forward to the inaugural meeting of the Industrial Security Agreement summit to facilitate high-end defence industrial collaboration," the statement said.
The leaders decided that the US and India must continue and expand their partnership in new domains and many areas of critical and emerging technology – space, cyber, health security, semiconductors, AI, 5G, 6G and future generation telecommunications technology, and Blockchain, that will define innovation processes, and the economic and security landscape of the next century.
They recognised the foundational need to address vulnerabilities and threats in cyberspace, including to promote critical infrastructure resilience, and welcomed the increasing partnerships among governments to counter ransomware and other cyber-enabled crime, including efforts to combat cybercriminals that operate from within their borders.
Biden and Modi reiterated the importance of sustainable capacity-building and noted that mutual technical assistance efforts to respond to cyber threats should be prioritised and increased, including through dialogues, joint meetings, training and sharing of best practices.
"They looked forward to the finalisation of a Space Situational Awareness Memorandum of Understanding that will help in sharing of data and services towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities by the end of the year," the statement said.
As global partners, the US and India resolved to further strengthen their collaboration in education, science and technology and people-to-people engagement. The leaders welcomed close consultations through the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue of the Foreign and Defence Ministers of India and the US to be held later this year, it said.
With inputs from PTI