India-UAE ink security cooperation pact

New Delhi: India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) today signed two key agreements, including one that will pave the way for 1,200 Indian prisoners languishing in Emirati jails to serve the rest of their terms back home.

UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Home Minister P Chidambaram signed the agreements on Security Cooperation and on Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

The pact on Security Cooperation seeks to strengthen and develop the existing bilateral framework to enhance security cooperation in areas such as combating terrorism in all forms, addressing activities of organised criminal groups, drug trafficking, illicit trafficking in weapons, ammunition, explosives and initiatives on training of personnel, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

The agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons provides the framework to facilitate the social rehabilitation of sentenced persons in their respective countries by giving citizens of the contracting states, who have been convicted and sentenced as a result of commission of a criminal offence, the opportunity to serve the sentence in their own society.

There are around 1,200 Indians imprisoned in the UAE for various crimes including on drugs and finance-related charges. There is only one UAE national presently in an Indian jail. The pact will apply to those who have already been convicted and not to under-trials.

As per its provisions, any Indian sentenced in the UAE, who is to be transferred to Indian jail, should have a minimum of six months of jail term left and there shouldn`t be any pending case against him. The two leaders extensively discussed issues pertaining to bilateral security cooperation, issues relating to drug trafficking, security and capacity building so as to enhance cooperation to combat organised crimes, the spokesperson said.

The issue of international terrorism also came up during the meeting. Both countries stressed their commitment to stepping up cooperation in investigation of mutually relevant criminal cases and sharing of relevant information in this regard, the spokesperson said.