War against 'Islamic terrorism' brings India-U.S. together: Michael Kugelman

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Washington DC [U.S.A.], June 26 (ANI): With Prime Minister Narendra Modi all set to meet US President Donald Trump today, Senior Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Michael Kugelman said that counter-terrorism is a major area of co-operation between the two countries, and the war against Islamic terrorism is bound to bring both nations together. "This is an American first administration and it wants to go after the terror groups that threaten US interest the most like the ISIS," Kugelman told ANI. He further said there is co-operation between both the nations, but there are points of diversion as well. "If Modi wants US to take a harder line when it comes to Pakistan, the United States is not willing to go that far. Also when United States would want India to join anti-ISIS coalition, India has so far refused to do that and I don't think it will. Counter-Terrorism is a huge area of co-operation, but there are some areas which could cause question," he said. Further stressing on the same, Kugelman said there is so much that brings United States and India together and one thing that brings countries together, is the issue of Islamic terrorism. "US and India could really take on the relation with defense co-operation and counter-terrorism co-operation," he added. Focusing on the expected economic tie-ups between both the counties, Kugelman said there are lots of reason to be hopeful about US and India relationship, but there are some tensions too. "President Trump's state of position is protectionist at a time, when Prime Minister Modi wants to be more outward thinking and focusing a lot on trade and globalization," he said. He said the there is an inherent tension between America First and Make in India, simply because Trump wants to keep jobs in US and PM Modi wants western companies to invest in India. However, in a development highlighting U.S. trying to aid India's in its campaign against cross border terrorism, the Department of State on Monday designated Hizbul Chief Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin, as a 'Specially Designated Global Terrorist'. Salahuddin is the senior leader of the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. In September, 2016, Salahuddin vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Kashmir valley "into a graveyard for Indian forces." Under Salahuddin's tenure as senior Hizbul leader, the terror outfit has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 explosives attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people. Prime Minister Modi and President Trump today will have a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office of the White House for 20-minutes between 3.50 p.m. and 4.10 p.m. (EST) (that is tentatively between 1.20 a.m. and 1.40 a.m. IST. As per an official advisory, this 20-minute meeting will be followed by an hour-long delegation-level talks between the two sides from 4.10 p.m. to 5.10 p.m. (EST) (i.e. 1.40 a.m. and 2.40 a.m. IST on Tuesday June 27)in the Cabinet Room of the White House. The two leaders will then proceed to the Rose Garden to deliver a joint opening statements to the media between 5.10 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. (EST) (i.e. 2.40 a.m. and 3 a.m. IST on Tuesday June 27). Following the joint opening statements to the media, both leaders and their respective delegations will attend a cocktail reception hosted by Vice President Mike Pence on the State Floor of the White House between 5.30 p.m. and 6 p.m. (EST) (i.e. 3 a.m. and 3.30 a.m. IST on Tuesday June 27). This will be followed by a dinner hosted by President Trump for the Indian Prime Minister and his delegation at the same venue (State Floor) between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (EST) (i.e. 3.30 a.m. to 5.30 a.m. IST on Tuesday June 27). (ANI)