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India, US to target terrorist financing, money laundering

Washington, Oct 14 (IANS) Focusing on terrorism financing and money laundering, India and the US have agreed to expand cooperation in targeting the financial networks of terrorist organisations, including Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT).

Besides LeT, held responsible for the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, also targeted will be its religious front Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) headed by Mumbai attack mastermind Hafez Saeed, and the Haqqani Network, which is blamed for the 2008 Indian embassy bombing in Kabul.

The agreement to target terrorism financing was reached at the fourth annual meeting of the US-India Economic and Financial Partnership here Sunday, co-chaired by Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

They also agreed to enhance cooperation between the agencies of the two countries in fighting against counterfeiting currency and illicit financial flows, Arvind Mayaram, secretary, department of economic affairs, said in press statement.

The two sides also agreed to increase engagement by experts from both governments to make “expeditious progress to address all trade and investment policy issues of bilateral concern so as to remove obstacles and improve the business environment in both countries,” he said.

Chidambaram and Lew agreed to deepen India-US cooperation bilaterally and in multilateral fora, including the G-20, to achieve reforms for stronger, more sustainable and more balanced growth, Mayaram said.

“They also reaffirmed the importance of enhancing the credibility, legitimacy and effectiveness of the International Monetary Fund and the urgent need to ratify the 2010 IMF Quota and Governance Reform,” he said.

They also agreed to continue working towards a greater understanding of all investment related issues including taxation and IT enabled services, an equitable and principled resolution of ongoing tax disputes, and strengthened bilateral ties in this regard.

The two leaders agreed to continue to cooperate on deepening capital markets and strengthening financial regulation, Mayaram said.

The meeting was also attended by Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, Secretary-Financial Services Rajiv Takru, Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao and Securities Exchange Board of India Chairman U.K. Sinha.

On the US side, Chairman of US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and US Treasury Under Secretary Lael Brainard joined the discussions.

Discussing recent economic and financial developments in the two economies, Chidambaram and Lew agreed that sound macroeconomic policies, structural reforms, and strong prudential frameworks will help them increase resiliency to financial market volatility and boost economic growth, Mayaram said.

The leaders discussed the importance of investment for driving economic growth and job creation in the two economies and ways to improve the enabling environments to mobilise investment, especially for the financing of infrastructure.

The next meeting of the Partnership will be held in New Delhi in 2014.

Chidambaram leaves later Sunday for San Francisco where he would interact with the investors and highlight India as a highly attractive destination for investment. He would return home Oct 16.

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