Objective Reading of Masood Azhar Case Ensures Support To India: US Envoy

Washington: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma is optimistic that new US administration led by Donald Trump will coordinate with India on issues including designating Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by UN.

“Any objective reading of the case would lead one to support the designation (of Azhar by the UN Security Council),” Mr Verma told news agency Press Trust of India on his last day at office.

“I have every reason to believe the new administration will also move in a coordinated fashion (with India). We got to continue to work with all parties including those who have not been supportive of these designations in the past,” he said adding, “We have to stay at it and not back off. It is a very important mechanism to hold people to account for their actions.”

Mr Verma, the first Indian-American to be appointed to the top US diplomatic position, said the US was disappointed that the Azhar issue has not got through the Security Council yet.

“We have been very proud with India to get additional designations in the United Nations. We have named additional entities in LeT and JeM to put additional pressure on these groups and actors. We think the right thing to do would be to designate them (Azhar and others) at the UN,” he said.

In the two years he has been in New Delhi, Mr Verma said these have been best years for India-US bilateral ties. On cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan, Mr Verma said the Obama administration has had a genuine and tough conversation with Pakistan.

“We have been having regular and tough conversations with leadership in Pakistan, to shut down the transit routes to shut down the safe havens and ensure that people who turn to violence are held to account,” he said.

He said no one nation can deal with terrorism alone, asserting that US and India need to stand together with the people of Pakistan to fight it.

Mr Verma said India and the US have been sharing more intelligence, adding the bilateral ties is on a “solid upward trajectory” and the relationship has demonstrated that it can create jobs in the world’s two largest democracies and deliver economic prosperity and security.