India, Lithuania sign extradition agreement

New Delhi: Enhancing its engagement with the Baltic region, India on Monday signed an extradition treaty with Lithuania following a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her visiting Lithuanian counterpart Linus Linkevicius here.

“During the visit, the two Ministers signed the Treaty on Extradition between India and Lithuania and the protocol amending and supplementing the agreement between India and Lithuania relating to air services,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

On October 4, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the signing and ratification of the treaty, which “would provide a legal framework for seeking extradition of terrorists, economic offenders and other criminals from and to Lithuania”.

“The treaty would help in extradition of fugitive criminals including terrorists for criminal prosecutions from Lithuania who may have committed crimes against India. It will bring the criminals to justice, with a view to ensure peace and tranquility to public at large.”

Among the countries with which India has such extradition treaties are Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Russia, Britain and the US.

It also has extradition arrangements with Italy, Fiji, Singapore, Sweden and Thailand.

Linkevicius’s visit also marks the 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Lithuania, which was a part of the erstwhile Soviet Union.

“India’s economic ties with Lithuania have strengthened with an Indian investment in plastic sector in Lithuania’s Special Economic Zone and the growing awareness about the prospects in agriculture sector,” said External Affairs Ministry statement on Monday.

An MoU on agriculture and allied sectors between the two countries was signed last year.

“The discussions between the two Ministers focused on building closer cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, agriculture, culture, tourism etc.,” the statement said

Linkevicius also gifted Sushma Swaraj a copy of Sanskrit-Lithuanian Mala, a compilation of 108 Sanskrit words that are common in both the languages.

“He told me that there are some 10,000 Sanskrit words in Lithuanian language. The compilation work is in progress,” Sushma Swaraj said in a separate tweet.

Lithuanians have great interest in Indian cultural traditions, including yoga. An estimated 70 per cent of Lithuanians visiting India have spiritual and yogic interests.

The Indian community in Lithuania is around 700-strong, including students.