The US will not tolerate cross-border terrorism or terrorist safe havens anywhere, its newly- appointed Ambassador Kenneth Juster said on Thursday, asserting that $ 2 billion military aid to Pakistan was suspended as America felt "they have not done as much as they could in eliminating terror sanctuaries" there.
In his first public speech after taking over as the ambassador in November, Juster talked about robust India-US partnership in key areas of defence and counter-terrorism and pitched for enhanced trade ties while describing India as a "net provider" of security in the India-Pacific region.
He said President Donald Trump and other US leaders have been clear that they will not "tolerate cross-border terrorism or terrorist safe havens anywhere".
"As part of this effort, last month we launched the first-ever US-India Counterterrorism Designations Dialogue.
We need to continue to enhance the sharing of information, designations of terrorists, combating of financial crimes and networks, and disruption and dismantling of terrorist camps and operations both regionally and globally," Juster said.
However, he made no reference to Pakistan in his speech.
When asked why the terror groups which were active against India were not named while the suspension of the aid, Juster said, "Pakistan is important too for the situation in Afghanistan."
"Don't think we will get stability in Afghanistan if Pakistan does not positively contribute. That was the major factor behind the suspension as we feel they have not done as much as they could in eliminating terror sanctuaries in Pakistan that are contributing to instability in Afghanistan," he added.
Emphasising that it was time to make sure that the Indo- US strategic partnership is a durable one, Juster stressed on the need to view the Indo-US ties strategically and not from the "signature initiatives".
He also noted that a combination of India's interest in technology and engaging in the co-development and co-production of military equipment and the US's interest in safeguarding information and technology underpins the future success of initiatives in the defence sector.
He also acknowledged that the US and India had initial "strained" exchanges on topics related to the transfer of sensitive US technology with both military and conventional applications.
"Now, India is celebrating its membership in two of the four multilateral export control regimes the Wassenaar Arrangement on dual-use items, which India just joined, and the Missile Technology Control Regime. We also expect in the very near future India to join the Australia Group on chemical and biological weapons," he said and added that the US was "working closely" with the international partners to secure India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
The remarks come in the backdrop of increasing Chinese assertiveness in the region.
On defence and counter-terrorism, Juster observed that both India and the US have suffered "horrific terrorist attacks" and continue to be targeted.
"We have a strong mutual interest in eliminating this threat to our societies."
A major part of Juster's speech was on ways to enhance economic and commercial relations and underlined that the US is concerned about persistent trade deficits with India.
Asked about the US ties with China, he said his country wants to have a constructive relationship with every country in the region.
"We want to have a constructive relationship with the Chinese as well. But we also want to make it clear that if they are going to be engaged in certain predatory economic behaviour or other activities then there's an alternative set of principles that other countries of the region are going to follow," he said.
He also added that "we can have more points of convergence than divergence but the only way to try to make that happen is to constructively build something on our part that China sees benefit to be a part of.”