After two decades, India, Thailand sign extradition treaty

Bangkok, May 30 (IANS) Marking an end to over two decades of tiring negotiations, India and Thailand finally inked an extradition treaty that will pave the way for extradition of those involved in terror and other crimes in both countries.

The much awaited extradition treaty between India and Thailand was signed here Thursday during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s two-day visit to Thailand, his first bilateral visit here.

The treaty provides the legal framework for seeking extradition of fugitive offenders, including those involved in terrorism, trans-national crimes and economic offences.

With the signing of this treaty, India will push forward with its requests to Thailand for the extradition of criminals like fugitive Syed Musakir Mudassar Hussain alias Munna Zingada. Wanted in India for underworld activities, he is presently in a Thai prison for his involvement in the attack on underworld don Chhota Rajan here in 2001.

Secretary-east Ashok Kanth said that the two-decade delay in signing of the extradition treaty was as these things “generally tend to be difficult”.

“The treaty provides for the extradition of any person who is wanted for trial or for the imposition or enforcement of a sentence by one contracting state and is found in the territory of the other contracting state,” the agreement said.

“This will help both the countries in expedited extradition of fugitives. This treaty would further strengthen the relationship between two law enforcement agencies by providing a firm legal basis for their bilateral cooperation,” it said.

The treaty was signed by Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul and India’s Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Thai Premier Yingluck Shinawatra.

“The two prime ministers welcomed the signing of the bilateral extradition treaty which would provide a legal basis for bilateral cooperation in dealing with elements acting against national interests,” said a joint statement by both prime ministers.

“Both leaders reiterated their resolve to significantly enhance bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking, counterfeiting and human trafficking. They agreed to strengthen cooperation in the field of counter terrorism and intelligence sharing through expedited follow-up of each other’s requests for legal assistance,” the statement said.

To curb international money laundering and terrorism financing, both countries also signed a memorandum of understanding between India’s Financial Intelligence Unit and Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Organisation. Both agencies will cooperate in the exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering and terror financing.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: “Our growing security cooperation received a major boost today. The extradition treaty, concluded after two decades of negotiations, and a memorandum on cooperation in anti-money laundering send a major signal of our shared commitment to combating terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and counterfeiting.”

India and Thailand also signed the Proces-verbal of Exchange of Instrument of Ratification of the Treaty on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

Under this, a prisoner of one country serving a prison sentence in the other will have the option of serving the term in his home country.

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