US Homeland Security chief visits India (Lead, Changing dateline)

May 24th, 2011 - 3:51 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Mumbai, May 24 (IANS) US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano Tuesday began a four-day visit to India during which she will inaugurate a new bilateral dialogue, including ways to improve cooperation in counter-terrorism.

Napolitano, who arrived in Mumbai, will hold talks with Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi and both will jointly launch the US-India Homeland Security Dialogue.

The dialogue is aimed at increasing communication and information sharing between both the nations on counter-terrorism and other security issues.

“The dialogue will highlight protecting the global supply chain, combating illicit financing and enhancing cyber security. The meeting will increase communication and information-sharing between the US and India on counter-terrorism and other issues that affect our security,” a statement said.

Napolitano will also meet other Indian officials and representatives of industry to share best practices on homeland security, coordinate on counter-terrorism and law enforcement cooperation to ensure the safety and security of both US and Indian citizens.

The US official will present a ceremonial wreath at the Police Memorial in Mumbai to commemorate the victims of the 26/11 terrorist attack blamed on Pakistani terrorists.

The new dialogue on homeland security was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama in October 2010.

India and the US have been cooperating in counter-terrorism initiatives since the 26/11 attack in Mumbai.

Last week, US Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute had called up India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to discuss the agenda for the homeland security dialogue.

The visit comes amidst strained relations between America and Pakistan after the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden by the US in a covert operation in Abbottabad.

It also takes place as the trial of Pakistan-born Tahawwur Hussain Rana proceeds for aiding the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the November 2008 Mumbai attack.

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