India, Canada vow to combat terrorism

NEW DELHI: India and Canada on Friday resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all forms and manifestations and agreed that no country should allow its territory to be used for such activities, an agreement that came during the weeklong visit by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that was marked by controversies over the perceived softness of Canada towards Khalistani separatists on its soil.
The two countries also signed a framework for cooperation in which they named Sikh extremist groups Babbar Khalsa International and International Sikh Youth Federation along with terror groups such as Al Qaeda, the IS, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed and committed themselves to work together to neutralise their threats.
After one-on-one and delegation-level talks and with Trudeau by his side, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there is no place for misuse of religion for political and divisive purposes.
“Terrorism and extremism are threats to our democratic and pluralistic societies,” Modi told the media along with Trudeau following one-on-one and delegation-level talks between the two countries here.
“It is very important for us to come together to fight these forces,” he said. “There should be no space for those who misuse religion for political purposes and divisive politics.”
He said those who challenge the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the two countries will not be tolerated.
Modi’s candid remarks came during the last leg of Trudeau’s week-long visit, which was earlier marked by a certain cold attitude from New Delhi towards the visiting dignitary because of Canada’s perceived support to Khalistani elements.
In a major embarrassment to Trudeau, on Thursday his country’s High Commission here had to rescind an invitation to a convicted Khalistani separatist, Jaspal Atwal, for a reception that was hosted in honour of Trudeau.
After Trudeau’s arrival on Saturday, it was only on Thursday evening that Modi tweeted his welcome message before greeting the visiting dignitary with a warm hug ahead of the ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday. In his remarks, Trudeau avoided any reference to separatists or terrorism. “We share respect for democratic traditions and pluralism,” he said adding the two leaders discussed ways to strengthen people-to-people ties between the two countries.
In a joint statement issued after the talks, the two countries pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while declaring that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.
“Recognising that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation to violence present acute challenges to global peace, stability and prosperity, the leaders resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.
“They called for bringing terrorists to justice and holding accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. They further emphasised that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.”
Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries.
The two sides emphasised the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups. — IANS