New Delhi: For the first time, India and China will sign an internal security cooperation agreement next week, marking a new beginning in bilateral relations, officials said Tuesday.
Zhao Kezhi, China’s Minister of Public Security, will visit India on 22 October and hold meetings with Home Minister Rajnath Singh during which they will discuss various aspects of security cooperation between the two countries.
During the visit of the Chinese leader, an agreement on internal security cooperation between the two countries will be signed, a home ministry official said.
The proposed pact is expected to cover areas of intelligence sharing, exchange programme, sharing of best practices, cooperation in disaster mitigation besides others, an official said.
This proposed agreement, if observed in letter and spirit by China, could seriously impact Maoist activities in central India. Maoists aka Naxals get a substantial chunk of their arms supply smuggled from China.
Sudeep Chakravarti, writing for Live Mint on 18 May 2017, said, “Kanu Sanyal, an iconic rebel leader, once told me about how he went to China between 1969-72, and met Mao Zedong. Sanyal received a lecture on the prerequisite for home-grown rebellions, but no support for training and weapons. Ironically, Naga rebel leader Thuingaleng Muivah led a group to China in 1966. The result was the opposite.”
He wrote further, “Other sources have told me of on-again-off-again weapons supply network from NSCN (I-M) and other northeast Indian rebel groups, like United Liberation Front of Asom, which source weaponry left over from Southeast Asian wars, and both used and new weapons off the Myanmar-Thailand-China grey market.”
The move comes just a year after a two-month-long border stand-off between the India Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army at Doklam on the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held an informal summit in Wuhan, China, in April this year which helped repair bilateral ties.
A Chinese delegation met an Indian team on 28 August to hold discussions on the forthcoming visit of the Chinese Minister of Public Security and the proposed pact on security cooperation between the two countries, the official said.
This will be the first such agreement between the authorities of India and China which look after internal security of the respective countries, the official said.
While Singh is the head of eight central armed police forces with a combined strength of about 10 lakh personnel, Zhao is responsible for day-to-day law enforcement in China and commands about 19 lakh personnel.
The scheduled meeting may lead to a future India-China agreement on the exchange of sentenced prisoners, another official said.
Currently, India does not have an extradition treaty with China, nor a pact to exchange each other’s sentenced prisoners.
There are at least 10 Indians in Chinese prisons and an equal number of Chinese citizens in Indian prisons.