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Pompeo, Gokhale say Pak must take 'concerted action' to dismantle terror groups

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

and the US on Monday agreed that must take "concerted action" to dismantle and deny safe haven to all terror groups on its soil as held talks with of State here, the highest level meeting between the two countries after the terror attack that escalated Indo-Pak tensions.

Gokhale arrived in the US on Sunday for the bilateral Foreign Office Consultation and Strategic Security with his American counterparts, Under of State for Political Affairs and Under for Arms Control and International Security

During the meeting, Gokhale and Pompeo agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable, the said in a statement.

Pompeo was directly in touch with the leadership of and and monitored the developments after the attack to ensure that the security situation in the region did not deteriorate.

Gokhale and Pompeo expressed satisfaction over the significant progress and the quality of the since Pompeo's visit to in September 2018 for the first ever Ministerial 2+2

The conveyed the appreciation to the and to Pompeo personally for the firm support that India received from the US in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in in

Secretary Pompeo expressed his understanding of India's concerns regarding cross-border terrorism.

"They agreed that needs to take concerted action to dismantle the and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory. They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable," the statement said.

Gokhale and Pompeo also discussed other issues of mutual interest including and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, and agreed to closely work together.

In response to Pompeo's reference to bilateral trade matters, the underscored the significant reduction in trade deficit in the last three years and conveyed India's willingness to remain engaged with the US for a meaningful and mutually acceptable package on trade issues.

The trade deficit between India and the US has decreased by nearly seven per cent to USD 1.6 billion in 2018 as compared to the previous year, according to the latest official figures.

recently notified of his "intent to terminate" trade benefits for India and under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) eligibility criteria.

India recorded a decrease in the deficit from USD 22.9 billion in 2017 to USD 21.3 billion in 2018, according to the figures revealed by the Bureau of Economy Analysis.

The talks between Gokhale and Pompeo are considered significant in view of the escalated tension between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of India's preemptive air strike on the largest terrorist training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot in Pakistan and the subsequent developments.

Ahead of talks between Gokhale and Pompeo, Pakistan spoke to US over phone and briefed him about the measures taken by to de-escalate tensions with India following the Pulwama terror attack.

Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after a suicide bomber of the Pakistan-based terror group killed 40 personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district.

India has provided a dossier to Pakistan, detailing the role of in the Pulwama terror attack. India has also said that Pakistan has failed to take any credible action against and other terrorist organisations, which continue to operate with impunity from Pakistan.

State Department Deputy Robert Palladino, during his bi-weekly conference last Tuesday, said Pompeo played an "essential role" in de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.

"Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly, and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the two sides," he had said.

Protocol-wise, it is quite unusual for Pompeo to meet Gokhale, but over the last few years, the US has met the Foreign Secretary, including his predecessor S Jaishankar.

The foreign office consultation and strategic security with the US are regular high-level dialogue mechanisms to review bilateral relations, exchange views on major foreign policy and security-related developments and coordinate respective positions on issues of common interest, said.

Gokhale's visit comes as India intensifies its efforts to declare Pakistan-based JeM a global terrorist by the Security Council.

Last month, the US, the UK and made a fresh bid at the UN to ban Azhar. JeM is already a UN-designated terrorist organisation.

During his visit, the Foreign Secretary is also likely to meet with senior leaders in the and the US

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 11 2019. 21:40 IST