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India, US discuss terrorist designation mechanisms

December 20
10:02 2017

New Delhi, Dec 20  Even as China continued to block the listing of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar in the UN-designated list of international terrorists, India and the US discussed procedures for pursuing designations against terrorist groups and individuals through domestic and international mechanisms.

The discussion came up at the inaugural India-US Designations Dialogue that was held here on Monday and Tuesday.

An identical statement issued by both the governments said the dialogue was to discuss increasing bilateral cooperation on terrorism-related designations.

“The establishment of this mechanism reflects shared Indian and US commitments to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats,” it said.

“The Indian and US delegations exchanged information on procedures for pursuing designations against terrorist groups and individuals, through domestic and international mechanisms. They also discussed best practices for effective implementation of the designations.”

The statement said Washington would host the second India-US Designations Dialogue next year.

The meeting assumes significance after China said last month that due to the lack of consensus at the UN Security Council committee, the application seeking a ban on Azhar has been rejected.

Beijing has for the second time vetoed the proposal which was first moved by India at the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council in March last year.

It did the same to a US proposal backed by France and Britain, first blocking it in January and then put a technical hold for three months in August. A new resolution will have to be moved now.

The statement is also important in the context of the US designating Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi as the masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Saeed, who carries a $10 million US bounty for his role in terrorist activities, was let go last month by Pakistani authorities in Lahore after a court refused to extend his house arrest citing lack of evidence. He had been under house arrest since January 30.

Over 160 people were killed and over 300 injured when the LeT militants launched a series of attacks on India’s commercial capital in November 2008.

Tuesday’s statement gave rise to speculation that the two countries could be looking at designating and issuing sanctions against more people involved in terror-related activities in the region.

 

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