India and the US will discuss this week further action to be taken against Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed, Indian and US officials familiar with the matter said. The background is the Islamabad high court’s dicision on March 9, paving the way for the registration of Saeed’s Milli Muslim League (MML) as a legitimate political party, the Hindustan Times reported today.
This will be one of the key focus areas of meetings when foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and defence secretary Sanjay Mitra engage their counterparts in Washington this week, the officials cited above said. The two secretaries are going to Washington for three days starting Tuesday to work out the agenda of the so-called 2-plus-2 dialogue between the Indian and US foreign and defence ministers on April 18. India’s ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna was in India this month to brief the two secretaries as well as the ministers on the forthcoming dialogue.
“The two countries also plan to do more to tackle terror. The second meeting of the Designations Dialogue, a mechanism created last year to “discuss bilateral co-operation on terrorism-related designations” according to India’s ministry of external affairs, is also scheduled for this month. The Indian and US officials said this meeting will process new names or entities for designation as terrorists or terror groups by Washington,” the newspaper said.
Last August, Hizbul Mujahideen and its chief Syed Salahuddin were designated by the US as Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) and specially designated global terrorist respectively with accompanying sanctions. Hafiz Saeed, LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (the parent radical religious body formed by Saeed), have already been proscribed by the US.