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India, Nepal to sign new extradition treaty

world Updated: Nov 26, 2008 16:19 IST
Anirban Roy

India will soon sign a new Extradition Treaty and the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance with Nepal.

At the end of his three-day visit to Nepal, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Tuesday that officials of both the countries are now trying to expedite the process of signing of the new agreement.

“We are hopeful to sign the agreement very soon,” Mukherjee said. However, he did not specify any time-frame for signing of the agreement.

The existing extradition treaty between the two countries has now been archaic as it was signed on October 2, 1953, at Kathmandu by the then Prime Minister of Nepal, Matrika Prasad Koirala and the then Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Bhalchandra Krishna Gokhale.

In fact, because of the political transformation in Nepal, signing of the extradition treaty has been delayed by more than two years. Earlier, it was decided that the agreement would be signed on October 4, 2006 by Nepal’s the then Home Minister Krishna Prasad Situala in New Delhi.

Unfortunately, the signing process was postponed at the last moment as some of the political parties were opposed to the new bi-lateral agreement during the critical phase of political transformation.

It has also been reported that the process of signing of the new extradition treaty was almost ready almost four years ago, and was delayed because of the forceful takeover of Nepal’s administration by King Gyanendra on February 1, 2005.

The new treaty has been aimed at checking the growing nexus between trans-border criminals, who have been making the best use of the 1,750 km-long open frontiers. Both India and Nepal have been fighting a losing battle in fighting trafficking of Nepali women and children for sexual trade.

It has been found that the agreement would allow the two countries to even hand over criminals of third country to each other. It would also include extradition of people involved in cyber crime.

As well-organised network, every year, smuggle thousands of poor and illiterate Nepali women, who were increasingly lured by pimps with false promises of finding jobs in India, the new treaty would have enough provisions to fight the menace, the sources said.