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Washington: With President Barack Obama looking at India as a potential great global power in the 21st century, US wants to deepen its economic, political, and security cooperation with New Delhi.

“Our relationship with India is strong, growing,” State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters here on Tuesday in response to a question about the direction of US-India relations after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second visit to the US last month.

As President Barack “Obama said, India has the potential to be one of the great global powers in the 21st century, so we want to see our cooperation deepen both economically, politically, and on security issues as well,” Toner said.

In response to another question about the India-Pakistan relationship, he said: “It’s absolutely critical to achieving peace and stability in South Asia.”

On terrorism, the spokesperson said, “Obviously, it’s a shared concern not just between our country and India… but obviously, for many countries in that region.”

Toner noted that Obama, who had his third bilateral summit meeting with Modi in one year in New York last moth, had reiterated that the perpetrators financiers, sponsors of the November 26, 2008, Mumbai terror attack must be held accountable for their crimes.

“We continue to follow the criminal proceedings closely and urge additional action to prevent such an attack from ever happening again and recognise that this was a terrible tragedy for India,” he said.

“In general, we want to see better, stronger, closer counter-terrorism cooperation not only between the US and India but of all the countries in the region, including Pakistan,” Toner said.

“We all need to be on our guard. We all need to be vigilant,” he said.

“We all need to cooperate and share information and intelligence… in order to prevent future attacks. It’s not something we can let our guard down on.”

 

(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Fight Against Terrorism: Iran, Pakistan Agree To Set Up Joint Border ‘Reaction Force’

Stressing that "no third country" could harm Iran-Pakistan ties, an apparent reference to the United States, Rohani said Tehran was ready to boost trade and business ties with Islamabad.

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Iranian President Hassan Rohani (left) and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reviewing an honor guard in Tehran on April 22. RFERL

Iranian President Hassan Rohani and visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan have agreed to set up a joint border “reaction force” to counter terrorism, Iranian state media reported.

“We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,” Rohani was quoted as saying on April 22 during a joint press conference with Khan, who was officially welcomed in the Iranian capital earlier in the day.

The announcement comes following tensions between the two countries who have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.

“Pakistan will not allow any militant group to operate” from its soil, Khan said at the press conference while adding that the problem of terrorism was “increasing differences” between both countries.

“So it was very important for me to come here and come with our security chief that we resolve this issue,” Khan said.

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The visit comes a day after Pakistan asked Iran to take action against terrorist groups believed to be behind the killing of 14 Pakistani soldiers earlier this month. Pixabay

Citing a militant attack on Pakistani security forces in Baluchistan on April 18, he said, Pakistan’s security chief will be meeting his Iranian counterpart on April 22 to discuss how both countries can cooperate in not allowing their soil to be used by militant groups.

Stressing that “no third country” could harm Iran-Pakistan ties, an apparent reference to the United States, Rohani said Tehran was ready to boost trade and business ties with Islamabad.

For his part, Khan said his visit to Tehran aimed to “find ways to increase trade and cooperation…in energy and other areas,” noting that two-way trade was “very limited.”

Khan arrived in Iran on April 21 on his first official visit to the Islamic republic for talks set to focus on strengthening bilateral ties, “fighting terrorism, and safeguarding borders,” Iranian state media reported.

The two countries have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.

The two-day trip started with a stopover in the holy city of Mashhad, where Khan visited the shrine of Imam Reza, who is revered by Shi’ite Muslims.

The visit comes a day after Pakistan asked Iran to take action against terrorist groups believed to be behind the killing of 14 Pakistani soldiers earlier this month.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on April 20 that 15 gunmen wearing military uniforms ambushed a bus in southwestern Balochistan Province on April 18, killing 14 Pakistani Army personnel.

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“We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,” Rohani was quoted as saying on April 22 during a joint press conference with Khan, who was officially welcomed in the Iranian capital earlier in the day. Pixabay

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a letter to the Iranian government that the assailants came from an alliance of three Baluch terrorist organizations based in Iran.

Qureshi told reporters that Khan would take up the matter with Iranian authorities.

Earlier this year, Iran called on Pakistan to take action against a militant group behind a deadly attack on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

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Twenty-seven IRGC members were killed in the February suicide car bombing near the border with Pakistan.

The Sunni Muslim extremist group Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for the attack in southeastern Iran. (RFERL)