India and Thailand on Thursday firmed up their security cooperation by signing an extradition treaty, which was in the works for past two decades. The two sides also signed a pact on anti-money laundering cooperation.
“The extradition treaty… and a memorandum on cooperation in anti-money laundering send a major signal of our shared commitment to combating terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and counterfeiting,” said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the agreement was signed by Thai deputy PM and minister of foreign affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul and India’s minister for external affairs Salman Khurshid in the presence of Singh and Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra.
The treaty comes in the wake of India’s consistent efforts to get Dawood aide Sayeed Muzakkir Mudassar Hussain, alias Munna Zingada. Wanted in India for underworld activities, he is presently in a Thai prison for his involvement in the attack on underworld don Chhota Rajan here in 2001. Both India and Pakistan have, for the last few months, fought over his nationality.
“The PM has taken up the issue of Hussain with Thailand. The Thai prime minister said the process will be expedited,” said Anil Wadhwa, Indian ambassador to Thailand. The other pacts cover areas of mutual cooperation such as space technology development and cultural cooperation.
The two countries also called for an open and balanced regional architecture in the south-east Asia where many countries have maritime territorial disputes with an assertive China.
India and Thailand also signed a treaty on transfer of sentenced persons, under which a prisoner of one country serving sentence in the other will have the option of serving the term in his home country.
The PM termed Thailand as “the spring board of India’s engagement with the region” and a “vital link” in the country’s Look East policy and strategic partnership with the ten-member ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations).