Amit Shah holds ‘productive’ talks with U.S. envoy Eric Garcetti

Amit Shah holds ‘productive’ talks with U.S. envoy Eric Garcetti

Meeting follows PM Modi’s visit to Washington, coincides with visit to Delhi by U.S. human rights official

U.S. Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti called on Home Minister Amit Shah on July 11 to discuss “building on the positive outcomes” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States two weeks ago, the first such meeting between a U.S. envoy and the Home Minister since 2015.

“[I] had a productive conversation about advancing cooperation between both nations in counter-terrorism, drug trafficking and security domains. Reiterated commitment to building upon the positive outcomes of PM Narendra Modi recent visit to the USA,” Mr. Shah said on his Twitter handle on Tuesday evening.

During Mr. Modi’s visit, India and the U.S. had announced they would continue their counter-terrorism cooperation, especially over designations of terrorists at the UN Security Council, intelligence sharing, law enforcement and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). New Delhi has also been waiting for a final order in the U.S. court on the extradition of Tahawwur Hussain Rana, the LeT operative convicted for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks conspiracy.

The meeting was significant as Mr. Shah has rarely met foreign ambassadors during his tenure as Home Minister. It also came days after the U.S. envoy set off a controversy over his comments on Manipur, that the Ministry of External Affairs suggested “foreign envoys” should avoid. In a press conference in Kolkata, Mr. Garcetti had said that “you don’t have to be Indian to care when children or individuals die in the violence”, and offered U.S. support if required, which was seen as criticism of the Central government and the law and order situation in the State.

Neither the Ministry of Home Affairs nor the U.S. Embassy commented on whether they had discussed Manipur during the meeting.

The Home Minister’s meeting with Mr. Garcetti coincided with the visit of a senior U.S. delegation to Delhi, led by U.S. Undersecretary of State for civilian security, democracy and human rights Uzra Zeya. During her three-day trip to Delhi, Ms. Zeya, who is also U.S. special coordinator on Tibet issues and was accompanied by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu, met with the Dalai Lama and Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra.

On Tuesday, Ms. Zeya interacted with a number of civil society organisation members, before leaving for Dhaka. “Grateful for the chance to sit down with Indian civic leaders today. Thank you for your perspectives and efforts to help ensure “democracy delivers” for the people of India and the United States,” Ms. Zeya tweeted, but didn’t identify the leaders she met. Ahead of her visit a State department release had said last week that Ms. Zeya would meet “civil society organisations on freedom of expression and association, and inclusion of women and girls, persons with disabilities, and vulnerable groups, including marginalised religious and ethnic minorities.”

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