This post was originally published on 23 January 2017.
UAE on Sunday pledged total support to India in combating terrorism, as it looked towards elevating bilateral defence and security ties and inking a Strategic Cooperation Agreement during the visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in New Delhi from Tuesday.
The pacts are part of the 16 agreements to be signed between the two countries after the talks on January 25 between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mohammed bin Zayed, who will be the Chief Guest at this year’s Republic Day Parade, UAE Ambassador Ahmed Al Banna said in an interview.
“We cooperate with India to combat and fight extremists and terrorists all over the world and we support Indian authority and government in their endevour in protecting itself from any terrorist or extremist group,” he said.
He was asked about the decisions taken by the two sides during Modi’s visit to UAE in 2015 on working together to control, regulate and share information on flow of funds that could have a bearing on radicalisation activities, cooperate in interdicting illegal flows and act against concerned individuals and organisations.
Asserting that UAE was among the first to condemn the terror strike on Indian airbase in Pathankot, Al Banna said the UAE had also supported the surgical strikes carried out by India.
“When the bombing of the airbase took place, we were the first ones to condemn it. UAE was among the first countries which supported Indian surgical strikes and we support India’s efforts to fight and counter attack and attack terrorists and extremists,” he said.
The UAE envoy also said the National Security Advisors of UAE and India have been holding consultations regularly.
After the first Strategic Dialogue on Friday, the UAE side, led by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, held a meeting with NSA Ajit Doval, he added.
Asked about the role UAE, which is seen as a “key interlocutor” by India, could play in conveying Indian concerns to Pakistan over terrorism emanating from there, Al Banna said “We listen to them (Indian authorities). We coordinate with them and will be more than willing whenever we are asked by the Indian side to assist or interfere or take any action for betterment of our relationship….”.
He also said that they would work closely with India in Afghanistan where five UAE diplomats were killed earlier this month in a terror attack.
Noting that investigations were still on to find out those responsible for the attack, he said, “we will take our revenge (once we know the culprits).”
Al Banna also pitched for closer collaboration between the two countries in dealing with terror groups like Daesh.