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US Senators to pressure Pakistan to tackle terror groups targetting India

Washington, Sep 30 (IANS) Two co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have strongly condemned the Uri terror attack and said they will work within the US Congress to put pressure on Pakistan to end any association with terror groups targetting India.

Republican John Cornyn and Democrat Mark Warner of the Senate India Caucus, the only country-specific caucus in the US Senate, said in their letter on Thursday that they are greatly concerned about initial indications that the perpetrators of the September 18 Uri attack “were Pakistani and that the attack emanated from Pakistan”.

“If true, this attack would be just the latest in a series of deadly attacks in India conducted by Pakistan-based terrorist groups.”

They called on Pakistan to cooperate fully and transparently in the probe and prosecute those “within its territory that participated in this horrendous attack”.

“Pakistan’s possible involvement in this attack underscores our broader concern about Pakistan’s use of terrorism as a pillar of its foreign policies toward Afghanistan and India.”

“As many credible experts have noted, such groups as the Haqqani network, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad still operate freely in Pakistan, launching attacks not only on India but also on US personnel and interests in Afghanistan.”

They said it is “unacceptable” that such terror groups still operate within Pakistan.

“That such terrorist groups continue to operate within Pakistan is unacceptable, and we will work within Congress to pressure Pakistan to end any association with these terrorist groups targeting India, put a stop to their cross-border incursions, and take active and immediate steps to rein in homegrown terrorists,” they wrote.

They said the continued threat of terrorism that both India and the US face highlights the critical need to continue expansion of US-India bilateral defence, intelligence and counterterrorism cooperation.

They welcomed the declaration of India as a major defence partner, and the inking of the Defence Framework Agreement and deepening of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative.

“Similarly, we are pleased by the finalisation of an arrangement to facilitate the sharing of terrorist screening information and the progress made by the US-India Counter-terrorism Joint Working Group and the Homeland Security Dialogue. We will continue to support these and other initiatives that will increase US partnership with India against terrorism,” they said.

The Senators conveyed their deep condolences to the families of the soldiers killed in the attack. “Please know that the Senate Caucus stands with you, and that we will not allow terrorists to sway our shared commitment to fostering greater peace and promoting democracy in the region.”

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