Millennium Post

India to speed up mutual legal help treaties with neighbours

India to speed up mutual legal help treaties with neighbours
Eyeing deeper international cooperation especially with India’s neighbours including Pakistan, home minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday directed his officials to ensure Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in criminal matters are entered into with as many countries as possible. The home ministry is also keen to ramp up Joint Working Groups on counter-terrorism with other countries and groupings.

The directions by the new home minister was given during a review meeting of the functioning of the Policy Planning Division in the home ministry. The home minister wanted that avenues for strengthening bilateral security relations with neighbouring countries be explored, a statement by the ministry said. It added that Singh ‘desired that efforts be made to ensure that Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in criminal matters are entered into with as many countries as possible, and specifically with the neighbouring countries’.

Home ministry sources said India currently has MLAT signed with 36 countries and another 15 are in the pipeline. Though India, along with other SAARC countries, has signed a Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters in 2008, New Delhi is keen that MLAT is also signed with individual neighbours. Asked if Pakistan is also being looked at for signing such a treaty, sources said ‘the policy is equal with all neighbours. We had moved a proposal earlier also but Pakistan had not responded positively. We will prepare the groundwork and it will be raised during the
meeting of the Indo-Pak Joint Commission as and when it happens’.
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