The Obama administration has asked Pakistan to dismantle safe havens of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e- Mohammed and Haqqani network operating from its soil while delivering a "very tough" message to it, outgoing US envoy to New Delhi Richard Verma said on Teusday. Holding that India faces a "daunting challenge" from these Pakistan-based terror groups and hailing New Delhi's efforts to deal with the menace, the envoy said the world needs India's leadership in countering terrorism.
Verma, who demits office ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, said the US also told the Pakistani leadership to come down hard on perpetrators of cross-border terrorism including in Afghanistan. Talking about Indo-US cooperation in counter-terror efforts, he said intelligence sharing between the two strategic partners has reached "unprecedented level" which helped Indian secutrity agencies thwart various threats.
Asked about what exactly the Obama administration told Pakistan recently regarding Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Haqqani network, Verma told an event organised by a think tank, "We have taken a very tough line on these terrorist groups operating from Pakistani soil."
He said the message to the Pakistani leadership has been a "very tough and concerted" one, adding Islamabad has been told to eliminate the safe havens of the terrorist groups, shut down their cross border activities and take action against the perpetrators of terror. Talking about threat of terror India was facing, he said, "On the Western front, India faces a daunting challenge of terrorist groups operating from inside Pakistan. Some of these groups including LeT and Haqqani network, and JeM also targeted the US and Afghan security forces in Afghanistan."
He said the US continued to press Pakistan at the "highest level" to take effective action against these groups and cited extension of terrorist designation to two more LeT leaders. The envoy said India and the US must expand cooperation further in dealing with terror, radicalisation and violent extremism.
"The US India partnership stands as a global example of what is possible." He said concrete efforts were needed to understand howyoung people are being radicalised using digital technology byterror outfits like ISIS and come out with solution to theproblem. Complimenting India for its efforts to contain insurgency in the northeastern states, particularly Mizoram, he said it can be a lesson in dealing with broader challenge of violentextremism in various parts of the globe.
Noting that social media has become a key platform forISIS to lure young people into terrorism, he said efforts and resources must be mobilised locally and globally in fightagainst terror and violent extremism. He said ISIS had recruited a around 40,000 people over the last 4 years.