What?s terror? India, Saudi differ
TERRORISM AND energy security dominated the discussions between Saudi monarch King Abdullah and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, but the talks between the two countries hit a 'rough patch' over the definition of terrorism. As a result, a proposed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty on criminal matters -- usually a precursor to an extradition treaty -- did not materialise.Updated: Jan 27, 2006 12:12 IST
TERRORISM AND energy security dominated the discussions between Saudi monarch King Abdullah and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, but the talks between the two countries hit a 'rough patch' over the definition of terrorism. As a result, a proposed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty on criminal matters -- usually a precursor to an extradition treaty -- did not materialise.
Instead, an MoU on combating crime, including terrorism -- not a broad-based anti-terrorist agreement -- was signed between India and Saudi Arabia, sources said.
The problem stemmed from "differences in perception" on the concept of "freedom struggles" to justify acts of terror. This has stymied the adoption of India's Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism, languishing at the UN for close to a decade. Arab states and the Palestinian Authority in particular have always held that ongoing "freedom
struggles" justified the use of terror tactics. India categorically opposes the use of terror against innocents.
However, the sources said, there was a "definite intention" apparent in the Saudi delegation to engage with India, and "broad agreement" on most matters, unlike in the past.
The Saudi monarch appeared pleased at the reception he received, going so far as to say he felt he was in his "second home". After being accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, he said his visit would help renew the "historical and civilisational ties" between the two countries.
King Abdullah met the PM, one-on-one, for 45 minutes before the delegations met at Hyderabad House, MEA spokesman Navtej Sarna said.
During the discussions, the monarch said there was a need to work together on terrorism, to combat it and that they have "declared a war on terrorism". He said Saudi Arabia was against any support to terrorism -- financial or moral. Manmohan Singh said India saw Saudi Arabia as a "very important partner in combating global terrorism", and the MoU would "further strengthen cooperation" on this front.
The MoU on combating crime was signed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faizal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud.
Energy security was another vital element in the discussions. King Abdullah said his country had adequate oil reserves to
ensure India's energy security if New Delhi so desired.
Raising investment levels in each other's countries was another key area covered in the talks, with MoUs to promote and protect investments and avoid double taxation.
Four accords were signed, including an MoU on combating crime Promoting investment also got priority
First Published: Jan 27, 2006 12:12 IST