Rajnath Singh to visit Russia, US; Pakistan-sponsored terror in focus
Ratcheting up pressure on Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Russia and the United States next week to highlight the issue of the neighbouring country sponsoring terrorism in India and discuss efforts to counter ISIS activities in the region.
New Delhi: Ratcheting up pressure on Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Russia and the United States next week to highlight the issue of the neighbouring country sponsoring terrorism in India and discuss efforts to counter Islamic State activities in the region.
Singh will visit Russia for five days beginning 18 September where he will have bilateral talks with Russian Minister for Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev and discuss issues related to Indo-Russia joint anti-terror cooperation.
They will also discuss cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and growing activities of IS in the country and its neighbourhood.
The Home Minister will travel to Washington on September 26 for a seven-day visit for the Indo-US Homeland Security Dialogue with his American counterpart Jeh Charles Johnson.
Singh will raise the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and activities of ISIS in India and other South Asian countries.
"In both the bilateral visits to Russia and the US, the Home Minister will highlight Pakistan's direct involvement in cross border terrorism and growing activities of the Middle East terror group in India and its neighbourhood," a Home Ministry official said.
The Home Minister will have threadbare discussions with his Russian and the US counterparts on how to enhance anti-terror cooperation, especially checking the growing activities of ISIS and sharing of intelligence inputs.
Other issues to be discussed in the two visits include extradition of each other's wanted criminals, liberalisation of visas etc.
The visit by Singh, one of the top leaders of the Modi government, to the two global powers within a week is considered significant as India has raised the pitch on the issue of "terror export" from Pakistan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue at the G20, BRICS meet and East Asia Summit, where he called on the international community to isolate and sanction this instigator of terrorism.
Modi urged the nations to intensify joint efforts to combat terrorism and sought "coordinated actions" by the grouping to "isolate supporters and sponsors of terror".
The government's tough stance comes amid heightened tension with Pakistan, which is openly backing militancy in Jammu and Kashmir which has been hit by unrest for over two months now.
"The bilateral visits of the Home Minister are part of India's efforts to create global opinion against Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India," the official said.
Further cementing anti-terror cooperation, real-time sharing of intelligence inputs, cyber security and critical infrastructure protection, countering illicit finance, global supply chain security, megacity policing and science and technology are some of the key issues to be discussed at the meetings to be held in Moscow and Washington.
In the US, the Home Minister and his delegation will discuss two key recently-signed agreements. The Global Entry, a US Customs and Border Protection programme, permits speedy clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival in America. The Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6 (HSPD-6) allows access to information on terrorists.
The US has been pressing for India's inclusion in the Global Entry so that high dignitaries like former presidents, former prime ministers, former Union ministers, film stars, top industrialists and frequent flyers could visit America without any hassle.
There will be extensive discussion on the Global Entry during the dialogue, sources said.
Initially, names of around 2,000 prominent Indians could figure in the coveted list, which would be expanded gradually after proper background checks of each individual.
Incidents like brief detention of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan recently at the Los Angeles airport could be avoided if the Global Entry is implemented.
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