World Bulletin / News Desk
India and the United States could cooperate in the international struggle against the ISIS, particularly on issues such as financing and foreign fighters, U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on Monday.
"When you look at our broader counterterrorism cooperation and how we're tracking the flow of fighters and terrorist financing, there I do think we want to find space for cooperation," Rhodes told reporters in New Delhi.
"That will look very different from a country that is providing military resources, or training forces on the ground, but it's still a valuable contribution," he said, referring to India's possible cooperation.
The United States and its allies have been conducting air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Leaders across South Asia have been scrambling to assess whether the influence of the ISIS is growing as flags and propaganda for the hardline militant group have cropped up in the region.
Modi's willingness to discuss issues that stretch beyond India's border, including ISIS militants, the South China Sea and North Korea was noted by observers of the India-U.S. relationship when the prime minister visited Washington in September.
India banned the ISIS last month, days after detaining an engineer suspected of operating a prolific pro-ISIS Twitter account.
New Delhi had held off on declaring the ban in part due to concern for the safety of 39 Indian construction workers who went missing in Iraq last year, and who are believed to be held by the militant group.
In a joint statement issued on Sunday, Obama and Modi restated a commitment to consult closely on global crises.
Specifically they agreed to exchange information on individuals returning form the battlefields of Iraq and Syria and cooperate on protecting civilians caught up in the fighting there.
The workers' whereabouts were still unknown, India's foreign secretary Sujatha Singh said during a press briefing on Sunday.
"The status remains precisely the same. That is we are involved in looking out for them, and in bringing them back safe and alive," she said.
India is home to the world's third-largest Muslim population.
Police say only four Indians are known to have joined ISIS, and one has since returned and is in custody, though it is difficult for authorities to track whether the men were acting in isolation or part of a larger group.