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India-US Pact for Sharing Data on Terrorists
Jun 07, 2016

India and the US signed a key pact for exchange of intelligence on terror on a real time basis that include biographic information of known and suspected terrorists. An arrangement between the authorised Indian governmental agencies and the government of the United States of America for exchange of terrorist screening information was signed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and US Ambassador to India Richard Verma.

  • As per this pact, India and the US will provide each other access to terrorism screening information through the designated contact points, subject to domestic laws and regulations.

  • The agreement would enhance the counter terrorism cooperation between India and the US.

  • With signing of the key pact, India has formally entered into the US Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6 (HSPD-6), which will enable it to access 'unclassified biographic information of known and suspected terrorists' maintained by the US on a reciprocal basis.

  • The HSPD-6 is a model text agreement for exchange of terrorist screening information between Terrorist Screening Centre (TSC) of the US and an Indian agency.

  • The US has already finalised such agreements with 30 countries.

  • TSC is a multi-agency organisation administered by FBI which consolidates several terrorist watch lists maintained by different US government agencies into single terrorist database on terror suspects.

  • The Terrorist Screening Center has details of 11,000 terror suspects on its database. The details in the database include nationality, date of birth, photos, finger prints and passport number of the suspects.

  • The Intelligence Bureau will be the nodal agency and designated as the Indian party to the agreement.

  • It was agreed that while signing the pact, it must be ensured that privacy issues are taken care of.

There have been several rounds of discussions between the interlocutors of the two countries in the past one year and both sides have narrowed down their differences on several key issues with the aim of signing the pact.

The proposal was initially made by the US in 2012. However, it made little progress after objections raised by Indian security agencies. The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) had raised concerns about giving the US unhindered access to the database of terror suspects in India. However, later, the security agencies came to the conclusion that there was no disadvantage in entering into the proposed pact with TSC.

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