India and China to Tackle Terror Together, Both Agree to Form Ministerial Mechanism, Share Intelligence and Enhance Ties

Condemning the recent terror attacks in Paris, India and China on Saturday agreed to enhance counter-terrorism ties between the two countries through intelligence sharing. They also decided to increase cooperation on tackling drug-related crimes, cyber crimes and illegal arms and ammunition trade.

According to a joint statement issued by the two sides after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh met top Chinese leaders, the two countries agreed to enhance cooperation in combating international terrorism through exchanging intelligence on terrorist activities, groups and their linkages, exchanging experiences on anti-hijacking and hostage situations, and coordinating positions on anti-terrorism endeavours at regional and multilateral levels. To promote exchanges between their counter-terrorism experts and develop cooperation, the decision to form the ministerial mechanism was agreed upon after Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s talks in Beijing with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Interior Minister Guo Shengkun.

The ministerial mechanism which would be followed by a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the security-related issues to be worked out, will become operational during Guo’s visit to India next year, Singh told the media in Beijing after his meetings with Li and Guo. The committee will handle issues like terrorism, security and law enforcement related issues, transborder crimes, cyber crimes and drug trafficking. “From now onwards all the issues will be handled by the committee, co-chaired by both the home ministers,” he said. The committee will meet every year to review the progress, Mr. Singh said.

“There is a common recognition by both sides that terrorism is a common threat. It is a transnational and transborder threat which requires our joint response,” he said adding that the point was also highlighted in talks with Li. The decision by the two countries to deepen cooperation relating to terrorism comes in the backdrop of the Paris terrorist attacks and killing of Chinese and Norwegian hostages by Islamic State terrorists. “In principle, we have agreed to a new bilateral document which will provide the contours of cooperation in counter-terrorism, security, trans-border crimes and related issues,” Mr. Singh said.

The ministerial mechanism would be assisted by a working level mechanism headed by joint secretary level officials of both the countries, Singh said expressing satisfaction over the steady improvement of cooperation between the two nations. Besides various aspects of security issues, the mechanism significantly would focus on cross-border terrorism and information-sharing on terrorism which India and China face from a “joint source” – Pakistan.

While India faces cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan in Kashmir, China faces the same problem with East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Xinjiang-based al-Qaeda- backed outfit which has bases in Pakistan’s tribal areas. 

“We have agreed to expand our cooperation to combat international terrorism through exchange of information on terrorist activities, terror groups and linkages. We will also exchange experiences in anti-hijacking and hostage situations etc. We will coordinate our positions on anti-terrorism endeavors in the multilateral fora,” Mr. Singh said. “We also agreed on expanded cooperation in training and capacity building of the security forces,” he said. India has agreed to China’s suggestion that in view of the shared desire on both sides to upgrade the cooperation in security-related issues, there should be a framework agreement, he said. 
While reluctant to spell out the details on China working out such an agreement with India, considering its close ties with Pakistan, Singh, however, said it is the culmination of consensus between leadership on both sides about the positive direction of the relations between the two countries. Mr Singh said in his 40-minute talks with Li, ranked second after President Xi Jinping, he raised the border issue and frequent incursions by Chinese troops, resulting in tensions.

Both sides agreed on the necessity of maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border while moving towards an early settlement. Earlier, Mr Singh kicked off his visit this morning with a visit to China’s People’s Public Security University, which trains police officers in a range of security-related operations where he interacted with Fan Jingyu, the CPC Secretary of the University unit and discussed issues relating to training of police officers, and also visited the university’s control room, official source said. Source
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