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India-UAE condemn state-backed use of religion to sponsor terrorism

In a veiled attack on Pakistan, India and the UAE have condemned efforts by States to use religion to sponsor and sustain terrorism against other countries, and resolved to cooperate in countering terrorism by adopting a policy of “zero tolerance” towards the menace.

An India-UAE joint statement today, said the two sides agreed to coordinate efforts to counter radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred and perpetrating acts of terrorism.

Acknowledging the common threat posed by terrorism to peace and security, the two countries reaffirmed their “strong condemnation of and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, and declared that there could be no justification for terrorism anywhere”, it said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had held comprehensive talks yesterday on bilateral, regional and international issues after which the two sides signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement and over a dozen pacts in key areas like defence, security, trade and energy.

Without naming Pakistan, the statement said, “The two sides condemned efforts, including by States, to use religion to justify, sustain and sponsor terrorism against other countries. “They further deplored efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and pointed out the responsibility of all States to control the activities of the so-called ‘non-State actors’.”

The two leaders articulated their unequivocal resolve to cooperate on counterterrorism by adopting a policy of zero tolerance towards the menace, it said.

Expressing satisfaction at the growing bilateral collaboration on counterterrorism, information-sharing and capacity-building, the two sides exuded confidence that these efforts would contribute to regional and global peace and security.

“The two sides agreed to coordinate efforts to counter radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred and perpetrating acts of terrorism.

“They emphasised the need to facilitate regular exchanges of religious scholars and intellectuals and to organise conferences and seminars to promote the values of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and welfare that are inherent in all religions,” the statement added.

Gravely concerned about the threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism which undermine security and stability, the two leaders agreed that resolute and credible steps must be taken to eliminate safe heavens and sanctuaries that provide shelter to terrorists and their activities.

The Indian side expressed deep appreciation for the solidarity expressed by the UAE on the terrorist attacks on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot in January 2016 and on the Army camp in Uri in September 2016.

Modi and Al Nahyan strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Kabul and Kandahar on January 10, and underscored the need to bring the perpetrators to justice, the statement said. Prime Minister Modi conveyed his condolences at the loss of lives of the UAE and Afghan nationals in these attacks and wished speedy recovery to the UAE diplomats injured in the attacks.

Both leaders emphasised the importance of promoting culture of inclusiveness, openness and tolerance within and among societies and agreed to work together closely to confront the global ills of extremism, terrorism and religious intolerance. “They reiterated that the Indian and the UAE experiences in building inclusive societies should continue to be promoted as effective models in countering extremism and radicalism,” it said.

Both sides noted the importance of efforts to disrupt terrorist networks, their financing and movement, in accordance with the relevant principles and purposes of the UN Charter and international laws. Deploring the use of double standards in addressing the menace of international terrorism, the two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating the meanace both at the bilateral level and within the multilateral system.In this regard, they called for early conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN, the statement added.