Taking bilateral ties on the homeland security front to a higher level, officials of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have assured their Indian counterparts that they would not hesitate to extradite even American nationals to India if New Delhi proved that they were involved in terrorist activities.
The FBI conveyed this to visiting Indian officials on the sidelines of the Indo-US strategic dialogue meeting in Washington on June 13.
Sources said that while papers for the extradition of American national and Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Coleman Headley have been sent to the Department of Justice, US agencies have given a commitment that they would bring those involved in terror activities against India to justice.
The FBI assurance was given to visiting home secretary Raj Kumar Singh and Intelligence Bureau director Nehchal Sandhu during their visit to Washington this week, after Indian officials raised the question of Sikh separatists with US citizenship being sheltered in America. India has also sought court papers and statements relating to LeT terrorist Tahawwur Rana, who is accused of trying to target a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet.
The Indo-US dialogue on Homeland Security has moved forward on multiple fronts, with India mulling over sending a representative to the University of Maryland-based Centre of Excellence Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). With a database of 98,000 incidents of terrorism, START studies the behavioural patterns of terrorists and terror groups in order to pre-empt future strikes. Both Singh and Sandhu visited START, and efforts are on to allow India to access terror databases.
Besides this, a centre of excellence on cybersecurity at IIT-Delhi is on the anvil with affiliations to top US universities, such as Harvard and MIT.
India is also planning to sign an MoU to establish a science and technology wing within the Ministry of Home Affairs, on the lines of a similar wing in the US homeland security department. This department promotes and searches for technology at the global level, which could help tackle homeland security issues.
India has already sent the draft MoU to the US, which has already signed such pacts with 11 countries, including Israel.