Germany has expressed its inability to sign the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with India, citing its provision for “death penalty” for heinous crimes and terror activities.
India has signed MLAT with 39 countries, including the United States. This is perhaps the first time a country has refused to sign the treaty on grounds of the death penalty provision.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju signed a memoran-dum of understanding (MoU) with Gunte Krings of the Federal Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Germany on security cooperation and disaster management. Dr. Krings is part of a delegation which has come to India with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
An MLAT is an agreement between two or more countries for gathering and exchanging information to enforce public or criminal laws.
Mr. Rijiju is learnt to have told the German officials that the two countries had been negotiating on the MLAT in criminal matters since 2007 and it had not progressed on account of differences on the issue of “death penalty”. “We informed the delegation that death penalty is only handed in the rarest of the rare cases in India,” he said.
India also discussed “violent extremism” with Germany and the activities of the Islamic State (IS). The Minister told Germany that individuals linked to terrorist organisations, particularly Sikh extremists based in Germany, often used their places of worship to support extremist organisations in India through propaganda and financial help.
“The flag of Khalistan and photographs of armed terrorists are openly displayed in many Sikh religious places in Germany to incite hatred and anger against India,” he said.
The two countries also signed an MoU for deployment of armed marshals on flights operating between the two countries.
Mr. Rijiju requested his German counterpart to establish a mechanism for real-time cooperation in the area of “cyber security.” The Foreign Ministries are holding Cyber Dialogue next week.