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Rajnath to visit Russia, US; Pak-sponsored terror in focus

On a mission to isolate Pakistan in the international community, NDA government is all set to start a massive global reach out plan this month itself. Under this colossal exercise the entire Union cabinet as well as ministers of state will visit 68 countries to drum up support. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will travel to Russia, United States, and Hungary next week to highlight the issue of the neighboring country sponsoring terrorism in India and discuss efforts to counter ISIS activities in the region.

The government’s tough stance comes amid heightened tension with Pakistan, which is openly backing militancy in Jammu and Kashmir which has been hit by unrest for over two months now. Further cementing anti-terror cooperation, real-time sharing of intelligence inputs, cyber security and critical infrastructure protection, countering illicit finance, global supply chain security, megacity policing and science and technology are some of the key issues to be discussed at the meetings to be held in Moscow and Washington.

“The bilateral visits of the Home Minister are part of India’s efforts to create global opinion against Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India,” an official said. 

Singh will visit Russia for five days beginning September 18 where he will have bilateral talks with Russian Minister for Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev and discuss issues related to Indo-Russia joint anti-terror cooperation, sources said.

They will also discuss cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and growing activities of ISIS in the country and its neighborhood. 

On September 26, Singh will travel to Washington for a seven-day visit for the Indo-US Homeland Security Dialogue with his American counterpart Jeh Charles Johnson.

The visit by Singh, one of the top leaders of the Modi government, to the two global powers within a week is considered significant as India has raised the pitch on the issue of “terror export” from Pakistan.

At the recent G20 BRICS meet and East Asia Summit, Prime Minister Modi also raised the issue of isolating terror groups and asked international community to sanction this instigator of terrorism. Other issues to be discussed in the two visits include extradition of each other’s wanted criminals, liberalization of visas etc, sources said.

Apart from Home Minister, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will be visiting Estonia and Latvia, and parliamentary minister Ananth Kumar will be heading to Tonga, while Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will travel to Mauritius and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh to Suriname.

In letters to the ministers, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the government will ensure every country has been visited by at least one Indian minister by 2016-end. She has also conveyed that all the interactions in the visiting countries will be arranged by the respective ambassadors and, in case a minister was interested in visiting certain places in those countries, their itinerary will be drawn up accordingly. 

The program also aims to enhance bilateral ties and explore areas of cooperation, official sources said.
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