India and the United Kingdom on Wednesday said that terrorism cannot be linked with religion and vowed to strengthen cooperation for a decisive action against terror groups, including Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Expressing strong condemnation of terrorism in all forms in both the countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Theresa May made the strong pledge during their meeting at 10 Downing Street in London which deliberated on various aspects of the India-UK ties. The talks between the two heads covered Syria air strikes, counter-terrorism, radicalisation and online extremism, according to a statement.
Assuring strong support, May told Modi that the UK stands as a strategic partner with India in dealing with the terrorism menace, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters during a briefing in London.
The two leaders asserted that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, creed, nationality and ethnicity. They stated that terrorist and extremist organisations should not be given scope to radicalise, recruit and conduct attacks on innocent people. To achieve this end, all countries should work together to disrupt terrorist networks, their financing and movement of terrorists, including foreign terrorist fighters, the statement said.
Emphasising the two countries’ stand, Modi and May vowed to strengthen cooperation to take “decisive and concerted actions against globally-proscribed terrorists and terror entities to protect our citizens, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Haqqani Network, al-Qaeda, ISIS (Da’esh) and their affiliates, as well as tackling the online radicalisation and violent extremism which feeds this”, it said.
The statement also highlighted the attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia using a nerve agent in Salisbury in March.
“In the wake of the appalling nerve agent attack in Salisbury, the UK and India have reiterated their shared interest in strengthening the disarmament and non-proliferation regimes against the spread and use of chemical weapons,” the statement said.
Modi and May also shared deep concern over the continued reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the statement said.
“They oppose the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances and are committed to strengthening the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” it said.
Calling for urgent investigations, the two leaders underlined that the conduct of all investigations of any use of chemical weapons must be strictly in accordance with the provisions of the convention.
The two countries also agreed to promote international security and stability in cyberspace through a framework that recognises the applicability of international law to state behaviour in a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace, the statement said.
Modi arrived in London on Wednesday as a part of his four-day visit to the United Kingdom. He was accorded a warm welcome and greeted with the customary handshake by May. “Very welcome to London, Prime Minister,” May said as she greeted Modi.
Apart from holding bilateral talks with his British counterpart, Modi also attempted to woo the Lingayat-Veerashaiva voters of Karnataka by paying his respects to Bhagwan Basaveshwara on the banks of river Thames.
During the meeting with May, Modi also told his British counterpart that there would be no dilution in UK’s importance to India even after it leaves the European Union.
(with inputs from agencies)