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Counterterrorism is shared interest for US, India: Senior State Dept Official

ANI | Updated: Sep 06, 2018 19:48 IST

New Delhi [India], Sep 06 (ANI): A senior US State Department official on Thursday, while talking about the '2+2' dialogue, said that India and the United States have a remarkable relationship with counterterrorism as a shared interest.
"We've worked closely with India over the last year to have both a counterterrorism dialogue as well as a dialogue on designations. We're coming up on the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai bombing. Obviously, we share India's concern that Pakistan continues to allow Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the Mumbai bombing, free, at-large, despite the reward that's on his head and despite his very known role in helping to facilitate that attack," he said.
When quizzed about the violence in Kashmir and the increased militancy on the Pakistani side, the official said that the US shares India's concerns over cross-border infiltrations and violence.
He further asserted that efforts by both the countries (Indo-Pak) to speak with one another and to engage one another are welcomed.
The official revealed that there are no similarities between the relationship shared by US-Pakistan and US-India. He said that the relationship shared by US and India is more of a strategic partnership.
"These are relationships that are utterly separate: a strategic partnership, burgeoning strategic partnership with India, one in which we're laying out foundations for what you can see down the road is going to be an increasingly robust military, economic, diplomatic relationship; whereas, with Pakistan, we're confronting existential questions about the relationship and about what Pakistan - what role Pakistan is prepared to play in the international community," the official stated.
He asserted that India's relationship with the US stands on its own and the partnership between the two countries has global implications.
While talking about the discussion in the '2+2', the official stated that Iran sanctions and reduction of oil imports with regards to India will be discussed in the meeting.
"We are asking all of our partners, not just India, to reduce to zero the oil exports - or oil imports from Iran, and so I'm confident that will be a part of our conversation with India. In the past we've seen India take steps during the previous round of JCPOA sanctions where they did - their private oil companies did work towards that goal," the official said.
He further said that the two countries are making good progress in concluding some of the "key agreements" when asked about the details of military communications cooperation or partnership between the two countries.
The official also stated that India has a prominent role in several strategies including the National Security Strategy, the South Asia Strategy, and the Indo-Pacific Strategy.
Elucidating on India's role in these strategies, the official said that India has an important role to play in the stabilization of Afghanistan and is recognised as "fifth-largest assistance contributor to Afghanistan."
He further talked about the Indo-Pacific strategy saying, "India's role with us, with other like-minded countries of the region, in committing ourselves to a free and open Indo-Pacific. And there are obviously security dimensions to that cooperation. There are maritime domain awareness (inaudible) of our exercise that we do with Japan, the fact that India is already the country we do the most military exercises with." (ANI)