US, India talks to focus on choking off terrorists' lifeline

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Washington, May 23: Keen to choke off the life line of terror groups, the US will open a dialogue with India for evolving more effective steps for cyber security and monitor illicit financial transactions, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said today (May 23).

On the eve of her first-ever official visit to India, Napolitano said illegal smuggling of cash, financial fraud, counterfeiting, illicit movement of money are some of the major items on the agenda as it pertained to terrorism.

"...to choke off the life line of some of these terrorist organizations... to open a dialogue that includes cyber security which is necessary to protect the networks that are critical infrastructure," she told PTI.

"Both of our countries are very concerned on how we can confront issues like critical internet response in a terrorism operation, in a counter-narcotics operations, disaster management," she said ahead of her three-day visit from May 26.

Intelligence sharing and co-operation between the US and India may be at a nascent stage, but the continuing dialogue will help the two countries in a number of areas, she maintained.

"...it is wide ranging, we are bringing a large delegation with us including experts in all of these areas. So it is really intended to open up, open the door on a number of important topics," she said.

"I would expect that in many of these areas one of the things that they would decided is how they need to proceed, in other words this would be the beginning of the on going process... the US is very committed for cooperation and support in the ongoing terrorism investigations," she said.

"That being said, I think it would be inappropriate for me to discuss specific information that is being shared or has been shared," she added.

Brushing aside the notion in some quarters in India that Washington is not as forthcoming as it should be in sharing intelligence material with New Delhi as it pertained to terrorism in Pakistan directed against India, Napolitano said that the United States is indeed committed to sharing information with close allies to help protect security.

"We have a joint interest in this. That being said, we do not discuss publicly, the details of this co-operation because protection of sources, investigation is very important to us," she said.

Asked about the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, and if Pakistan's ISI was involved against the backdrop of what has been transpired in the FBI chargesheets in Chicago, Napolitano argued that there was an "international responsibility" to bring those involved in the heinous crime to book. 

PTI

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