NEW DELHI (AP) — India and the United States said Friday a new homeland security dialogue will be crucial to cooperation in counterterrorism, intelligence sharing and cybersecurity.
They identified port, border and coastal security; efforts to stop illegal money to terror and criminal groups and cooperation in mega-city policing as areas of cooperation between the countries.
The joint statement by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram reaffirmed their governments' resolve to defeating terrorism and called for effective steps by all countries to eliminate safe havens for terrorists.
During the Cold War, India and the Soviet Union shared close ties, while the U.S. tilted toward India's rival, Pakistan. But in recent years, New Delhi and Washington have drawn closer, finding common ground in their concern over global terrorism, commitment to democracy and booming trade.
Napolitano visited India as a businessman stands trial in Chicago in connection with the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 166 people. India has blamed Pakistan-based insurgent groups for the killings.
She earlier this week paid tribute to victims of the attacks, laying a wreath and observing a brief silence at a memorial to 16 policemen killed during the three-day siege of India's financial capital.
Concluding her four-day visit, Napolitano told reporters the new homeland security dialogue would be a forum "to strengthen our strategic partnerships, to share best practices and to identify future areas of collaboration."
The dialogue will be held in Washington next year, she said.
"The United States and India face common threats and in return we must develop common approaches to protect shared critical infrastructure and free flow of people and commerce across our borders," Napolitano said.
She described India as a steadfast partner and said both countries should work together to strengthen their law enforcement and counterterrorism efforts.