Terror tops India-US security dialogue Friday

May 26th, 2011 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) In a first dialogue of such kind, India and the US will meet here Friday to discuss cooperation in internal security, with terror on the top of their agenda.

“The homeland security dialogue between India and the US will be held Friday,” a home ministry statement said here.

The Indian delegation will be led by Home Minister P. Chidambaram and the US delegation by Secretary of Homeland Security Department Janet Napolitano, who arrived in India Tuesday.

Chidambaram and Napolitano will later hold a joint press briefing Friday evening at Hotel Ashoka here.

As the talks coincide with the ongoing trial in Chicago of November 2008 terror strike accused Tahawwur Rana, the two sides would discuss “capacity building and mutual assistance in investigations including in the Mumbai attack”, the statement said.

During the trial in Chicago, Pakistani-born American terrorist David Coleman Headley has linked Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group that planned and executed the attack which left 166 people, including six Americans, dead.

“The two sides are likely to discuss issues of mutual interest including coastal security, mega city policing, countering illicit financing and trans-national crime, cyber security, accessing and sharing of data relating to terrorism, transfer of counter-terrorism and homeland security equipment to each other,” said the statement.

The agenda for talks is expected to include the recent killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by elite American commandos in a hideout in Pakistan’s garrison town of Abbottabad.

Experts here say the meeting is critical in the US-India strategic dialogue and is expected to further their communication and information-sharing ties on counterterrorism and security issues.

K.P. Vijayalakshmi, head of the Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, said the visit was important as it happens when India’s neighbourhood is facing security threats in the aftermath of Osama’s death.

“That brings us to the question whether the war on terror is really about Osama or beyond. And my view is that it is beyond. And clearly Napolitano’s visit, I see it in that perspective, that counter-terrorism efforts means there is still a war on terror to be fought,” Vijayalakshmi told IANS.

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