The Donald Trump administration on Wednesday hailed India as an “incredibly valuable and close counter-terrorism partner” of the U.S and said the future is “very bright” for bilateral co-operation in this arena.
U.S. Counterterrorism Coordinator, Nathan Sales credited the meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trump early in the latter’s tenure as the reason behind a “powerful” partnership between the two nations.
“India is an incredibly important, incredibly valuable and incredibly close counterterrorism partner of the U.S.,” Mr. Sales told reporters during a teleconference at the conclusion of the conference on Law Enforcement Efforts to Defeat ISIS.
“The president [Trump] and the prime minister [Narendra Modi] held a very, very productive series of meetings earlier in the administration, and in response to that set of meetings, the U.S. government and the Indian government have forged ahead to create a really powerful partnership,” he said.
Mr. Sales said the Trump administration has announced in the U.S. a number of designations related to terrorist threats that India faces.
In 2016, the U.S. entered into an arrangement with India to share information about known and suspected terrorists.
“I think the future is very bright for U.S.-India counterterrorism corporation,” Mr. Sales said.
Mr. Sales said South Asia is one of the areas of the world where ISIS has an increasingly robust presence.
“Bangladesh is a good example of this. The Holey Artisan Bakery attack in July of 2016 in Dhaka killed 22 people,” he said.
The U.S. is also tracking in South Asia the ISIS Khorasan affiliates of ISIS becoming increasingly ambitious and increasingly active, he said.
“We are working with our partners in the region to develop a shared understanding of the threat that these organisations pose to us in the US and pose to local governments. We are also working with those partners to develop a set of responses,” said Mr. Sales.
Those responses include things like information-sharing, exchanging data about known and suspected terrorists, improving border security efforts to spot terrorists as they travel from conflict zone to conflict zone.
“I am confident that by bringing together partner nations who have a common understanding of the threat we face that we’ll be able to address this,” he said.