India- UK bilateral talks explored the transnational threat of terrorism as both countries vowed to cooperate on addressing the issues of extradition and organised crime.
Indian Prime Minister met the Prime Minister of the UK as part of extensive talks covering a range of issues such as terrorism and organised crime. The need for greater cooperation was highlighted, and both countries agreed to hold an annual strategic dialogue to jointly address such pertinent issues. India and the UK stated the extent to which the problems of terrorism and crime was to be addressed, in a joint statement. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stated to the press, “I conveyed our deep concern to Prime Minister Theresa May regarding cross-border terrorism and the need for the international community to take strong actions against states that support and sponsor terrorism.”
Calling out on Pakistan’s failure in acting against terrorism, both countries stated that the orchestration of 2008 Mumbai attacks as well as the recent 2016 Pathankot attacks remain unaddressed by Pakistan. The transnational nature of terrorism was highlighted, pointing out that it was not a limited security challenge. Both leaders agreed that terrorism was a threat that moved beyond borders and endangered humanity. May said that the two countries face the shared threat of terrorism as individual countries, as partners, and global powers, and have agreed to strengthen cooperation, in particular by sharing best practices to tackle use of internet by violent extremists.
The statement read, “The fight against terrorism should not only seek to disrupt and bring to justice terrorists, terror organisations and networks, but should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues.”
An exchange of lists also took place between the UK and India to take forward extradition requests that have been pending. “The two leaders expressed their strong commitment to facilitate outstanding extradition requests from both sides. In this context, they directed that officials dealing with extradition matters from both sides should meet at the earliest to develop better understanding of each country’s’ legal processes and requirements; share best practices, and identify the causes of delays and expedite pending requests,” the joint statement stated. India asked for early deportation of close to 57 fugitives, while the UK handed over a list of 17 fugitives to India. India’s list included liquor baron Vijay Mallya and cricket administrator and businessman Lalit Modi, both of whom are wanted in the country for money laundering charges among others.Stressing on the need for these fugitives to face legal action, May and Modi resolved to enhance cooperation under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).
In the bilateral meeting on Monday, India and the UK discussed and reached a strong stance on terrorism, explicitly stating that no form of terrorism is acceptable to both countries. “There should be no glorification of terrorists or efforts to make a distinction between good and bad terrorists. They agreed that South Asia should be stable, prosperous and free from terror and called on all countries to work towards that goal,” the joint statement further noted.
The 2015 Defence and International Security Partnership was noted as important to deepen cooperation, including on countering terrorism, radicalisation, violent extremism and cyber security. “We will jointly set out areas on defence and security which make clear our future ambitions to design, make, exercise, train and co-operate together. And, we will continue to consult and co-ordinate, across a range of global policy security challenges, in pursuit of our shared goal of a more secure world,” the joint document said.