Friday, June 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

India, Spain sign extradition treaty

New Delhi, June 20
India and Spain today signed an extradition treaty and an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters to significantly strengthen bilateral cooperation in law enforcement and fight against global terrorism.

The treaties were signed in Madrid this afternoon by Union Home Minister L. K. Advani, who is on a three-day visit to Spain, and Spainís Minister for Justice Angel Acebes Paniagua.

The extradition treaty, paving the way for the extradition of persons wanted in either country on criminal charges, has assumed significance in the backdrop of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the USA.

Spain holds the presidency of the European Union and the signing of the extradition treaty will provide a strong and positive signal to the world community in its fight against international terrorism, according to information received from Madrid.

A team of Indian officials, led by the Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Mr S. R. Tayal, had finalised the text of the Extradition Treaty with their counterparts some time ago. However, the two governments had felt that as both countries had suffered greatly from terrorism, the signing of the treaty at a high level would send a positive signal to the world community.

The text of an Indian-Spanish treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters was also initialled today between officials of the two governments. This would now go through legal procedures in both countries before coming into force.

The mutual legal assistance treaty is an essential adjunct to the extradition treaty for its implementation on the ground.

The Spanish Presidency of the EU has taken a forthright position in recent weeks on the Indo-Pakistan situation, demanding that Pakistan must permanently stop cross-border terrorism against India and close down terrorist training camps.

A high-level team, including Home Secretary Kamal Pande and Intelligence Bureau chief K. P. Singh, is accompanying the Home Minister. Mr Advani will hold discussions tomorrow with Spainís Deputy Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is also the Interior Minister, and Mr Paniagua. UNI

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