India takes a global lead on counter-terrorism

India takes a global lead on counter-terrorism
India takes a global lead on counter-terrorism

Indian Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi recently concluded a visit to the UK for the India-UK Home Affairs Dialogue to collaborate on issues such as counter-terrorism. The India-UK Home Affairs Dialogue was set up during British Prime Minister Theresa May′s visit to India last November. The first meeting took place in New Delhi in May and the latest meeting was co-chaired in London in July by Mehrishi with UK Permanent Secretary Philip Rutnam. India used the meetings to exchange ideas in the field on counter-terrorism. Both sides participated in a two-day workshop with the Joint International Counter Terrorism Unit of the UK to collaborate more closely on counter-terrorism matters. He said: “We shared both countries' respective threat assessment and discussed the security measures being undertaken. The issue of radicalisation and the work the UK is doing in counter-radicalisation also featured during the workshop. “We also deliberated on the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) and what work is being done to remove terrorist threat content from the internet.” The Indian Home Secretary also raised the issue of visa problems faced by Indians, including delays in student visa decisions, the high fees charged for UK visas and the lengthy waiting period for Indian tourist visas. The issue of women abandoned by Indian origin and non-resident Indian (NRI) spouses from the UK back in India was also highlighted by the Indian side and it was agreed that follow up meetings on that would take place next week with senior Indian High Commission diplomats. On the UK side, the issue of illegal immigration from India was raised with the Indian Home Secretary. "Approximately, the UK has been able to identify in the region of about 1,000 illegal immigrants from India a year. We made it clear that it is a matter of policy for India that anybody identified as an Indian who is illegally in the UK, we will expedite his or her return," Mehrishi said. "The only issue is about cross-checks and time taken because sometimes illegal immigrants, understandably, destroy their documents and therefore identifying them as Indians takes a lot of time," he noted. Mehrishi also held talks with Brandon Lewis, UK minister for immigration, and took part in a series of meetings, most of which are not in the "public domain". India is set to extradite a Bangladeshi national wanted in the UK on murder charges in the next week or 10 days. Mehrishi made a reference to the case as he concluded his visit to the UK this week as a sign of the India-UK extradition treaty working well. Extradition was also a major issue during the India-UK Home Affairs Dialogue in London, which took place against the backdrop of ongoing court proceedings in the UK against embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in India on fraud charges. “We are on the verge of extraditing an individual from India to the UK in the next week or 10 days. The extradition treaty is working just fine and there is no difficulty in the extradition treaty. We have extraditions already successfully completed,” Mehrishi said. While he did not name the individual, senior officials with knowledge of the case have revealed that the man in question is Bangladeshi national Mohammad Abdul Shakur. He is accused of murdering his wife Juli Begum and two daughters in the UK in 2007 before fleeing the country. He was arrested in Assam and, according to official sources, the delay in his repatriation to the UK has been as a result of an ongoing court case in New Delhi, which is being wrapped up to make way for his extradition. The UK Home Office was unable to comment on the case at this stage. “We only comment directly on extradition from the UK, as extradition to the UK is a matter for the requested state,” a UK Home Office spokesperson said. In reference to the ongoing extradition case from the UK to India - that of Vijay Mallya, Mehrishi had indicated that any hurdles in the broader extradition process between the two countries were discussed during his meetings in the UK over the past week. “Mr Vijay Mallya's case is sub-judice and in the courts. All the issues that pertain to extradition, across the board, were discussed,” he said. India and Britain have an extradition treaty, signed in 1992, but so far only one extradition has taken place from the UK to India under the arrangement - that of Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel. “He was extradited with the due process of law. We do understand that extradition does take time and there are multiple levels of appeal in either country and it is not the easiest of processes to complete. But being a liberal democracy that we are, we have to allow for the law taking its own course,” the Home Secretary said.

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