Updated February 28th, 2024 at 15:12 IST

India-US Homeland Security Dialogue: Talks Include Security Cooperation, Intelligence Sharing & More

While the Indian delegation was led by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, the US delegation was headed by his counterpart from the United States Department of Homeland Security.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and EAM Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. | Image:AP
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Cooperation in the field of internal security, intelligence sharing, and activities of pro-Khalistani elements in America were discussed at the India-US Homeland Security Dialogue held here on Wednesday, sources said. While the Indian delegation was led by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, the US delegation was headed by his counterpart from the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Besides cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of the two countries, the meeting discussed intelligence sharing on matters related to online radicalisation, cyber attacks, and digital frauds, among others, sources said. The Indian delegation is believed to have raised the issue of the activities of the pro-Khalistani elements on the US soil and also their active support and funding to the separatist elements based in India, sources said.

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The meeting was held against the backdrop of a row over the alleged assassination attempt on top Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Panun, a US citizen. The US has been demanding accountability in the matter. India is also seeking action against the pro-Khalistan elements involved in the July 2023 attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco, sources said.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has identified over 50 pro-Khalistan activists who had attacked the consulate in San Francisco. New Delhi is also pushing for the extradition of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks accused Tahawwur Hussain Rana. A US court had dismissed Rana's appeal against extradition.

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Cooperation in counterterrorism, cyber security, trans-border illegal immigration, extradition, aviation security, maritime security are other issues that figured in the meeting, sources said. The last India-US homeland security dialogue was last held in January 2022.

A joint statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on November 10, 2023 after the Fifth Annual India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue said: "The Ministers decided to convene the 20th Meeting of the India-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism and the 5th Designations Dialogue at a mutually convenient date early next year. Both sides are looking forward to the next edition of the Homeland Security Dialogue in 2024, where leaders will advance security cooperation, through capacity building and other activities." 

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Published February 28th, 2024 at 15:12 IST