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India, US sign treaty to probe terror
October 03, 2005 20:57 IST
Last Updated: October 03, 2005 22:26 IST
India and the US on Monday signed an agreement to help each other investigate offences related to terrorism, narcotics and other organised crimes.
Union Home Secretary V K Duggal and US Ambassador to India David C Mulford signed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty concerning the protocol of exchange of the Instrument of Ratification.
Speaking after signing the treaty, Mulford expressed satisfaction over the signing of treaty.
"The US and India share a comprehensive relation in every area of human activity," he said.
'The relation should develop and is developing' in the same fashion, he said.
Terming the treaty as a 'very very important step forward' in bilateral relations of the two countries, he said this treaty particularly focuses on finding ways of cooperating in the fields of terrorism, narcotics, drug trafficking, economic offences and organised crimes.
Duggal said the treaty was 'yet another step forward' for the two countries to jointly work to curb terrorist and criminal activities.
India is the 16th country with which the US has signed this treaty. It has been inked with countries the UK, Canada, France, Switzerland and Russia.
President A P J Abdul Kalam and US President George Bush have already ratified the treaty.
The treaty evisages enhancing the ability of the two countries to pursue their common objective of law enforcement by putting in place a regularised channel for obtaining law enforcement assistance from each other.
Such a channel will simplify and expedite the process of obtaining responses to request for assistance, besides improving implementation of bilateral extradition, which entered into force on July 21, 1999.
During discussions between the two delegations that led to the conclusion of this treaty, both sides expressed their determination to redouble efforts to eradicate the scourge of terrorism and use this treaty as an instrument to end it.
A US Embassy spokesperson also added that the treaty constitutes an important step in efforts of both the countries to work together to combat serious crimes.
While they have cooperated in the past in the fight against such crimes, this treaty will provide broader legal basis and enhanced procedural mechanism to enable them to provide assistance in connection with the investigation, prosecution, prevention and suppression of these offences, the spokesperson said.
A Home Minsitry spokesman said the assistance under the treaty shall include taking the testimony of statement of persons, providing documents, records and items of evidence, locating or identifying persons of items, serving documents, transfering persons in custody for testimony or other purposes, executing requests for searches and seizures, assistance in proceedings related to seizure and forfeiture of assets, restitution and collection of fines.