Kerry Headed to Bangladesh, India 08/28 11:06
GENEVA (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's stops in Bangladesh and
India come amid increasing concerns about terrorism in both South Asian nations.
After talks on Syria with Russian and U.N. officials, Kerry planned to
depart Geneva later Sunday for meetings with Bangladeshi officials, opposition
and civic leaders who are coping with a series of extremist attacks. The most
recent killed 20 people, including 17 foreigners, at a popular restaurant last
month in Dhaka, the capital.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but
authorities maintain that a local banned group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh,
or JMB, was behind it.
Kerry, on his first visit to Bangladesh as secretary of state, planned to
discuss counterterrorism cooperation, along with human rights and economic
development. On Saturday, police said they had killed three suspected
militants, including an alleged mastermind of the cafe attack. Attacks over the
past two years have killed atheist bloggers, foreign aid workers and religious
In India, Kerry is set to attend the seventh meeting of the U.S.-India
strategic dialogue. Those discussions are taking place as tensions rise in the
disputed region of Kashmir, scene of some of the largest protests against
Indian rule in recent years. Since early July, at least 67 civilians have been
killed and thousands injured, mostly by government forces firing bullets and
shotguns at rock-throwing protesters. Two policemen have been killed and
hundreds of government forces have been injured in the clashes.
India and Pakistan control parts of the Himalayan territory and claim it in
its entirety. U.S. officials say Kerry will continue to urge dialogue between
India and Pakistan over the dispute, the cause of two of three wars between the
Many Kashmiris want an end to Indian rule and favor independence or a merger
with Pakistan. More than 68,000 people have been killed since rebel groups
began fighting Indian forces in 1989 and in the subsequent Indian military
Kerry, who aims to try to further boost U.S. economic ties with India on his
two-day visit, will be accompanied by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker
and senior officials from 12 U.S. government agencies and institutions.