ABU DHABI: India is not immune to the threat from ISIS, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, has warned in exclusive interview to NDTV in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE has been in forefront of the fight against ISIS, also known as Daesh.
Ahead of the visit to India this week of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Dr Gargash told NDTV: “This is a long-term threat we need to cooperate, need to have zero intolerance. There are no grey areas, we need to tackle this threat and nobody is immune. If you think you are immune, you are going to be negligent and you are going to be hit. Everybody… whether India or the UAE.”
India and the UAE have started a new strategic partnership after a landmark visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Abu Dhabi in August, which includes unprecedented cooperation on counter terrorism, especially significant given that the UAE has traditionally been a close ally of Pakistan.
Over the past year, about a dozen Indians with links to the ISIS have been deported from the UAE.
To a question on whether Pakistan was doing enough to crack down on terror groups after the Pathankot terror attack, Dr Gargash said: “The UAE doesn’t see a grey area in our rejection of terrorism, whether by a non-government group or whether sponsored by governments, we put all that in the same pile, terrorism is terrorism.” He added that “there are no good terrorists and bad terrorists”, and that states cannot distinguish between different groups.
The Minister also described the global fight against ISIS as “frustratingly slow”. He said: “We need greater cooperation. Like in Iraq, we want to see a more comprehensive approach. We can’t geographically identify areas and say, this area suffers from terrorism. I can’t come and say, if something happens in Mumbai, that it is out of vision or sight. It is something that is related. Anti-ISIS needs a ground component, not troops. UAE has always said we want to be a part of this ground component… to train to lead. This is where is has been frustratingly slow.”
PM Modi visited UAE in August, becoming the first prime minister to do so in three decades. During the visit, the oil-rich Gulf nation announced it would invest $75 billion in Foreign Direct Investment in infrastructure projects in India, but that seems to be taking time.
The minister said: “India is already an attractive investment destination but we need to work together to cut some of the red tape, make things smoother. India is a continent, not a country, if you read India’s political history, you know how complicated and intricate it is so while you have to be patient, time is not on our side. I want to see clearer laws, smoother implementation, greater foreign investment,” he said