India and China on Monday signed a first-ever agreement on security cooperation which will strengthen and consolidate assistance in counter-terrorism, organised crimes, drug control, human trafficking and exchange of information, marking a new beginning between the two countries.
The agreement was signed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and China’s State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi, a move that came just a year after the two-month-long border stand-off between the Indian Army and the China’s People’s Liberation Army at Doklam on the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction last year.
The agreement followed the first high-level meeting on bilateral security cooperation co-chaired by Rajnath Singh and Zhao, who was heading a delegation of over 30 Chinese diplomats. Zhao is on a visit to India from October 21 to 25 during which he will also travel to Mumbai.
A Home Ministry statement said the two sides discussed counter-terrorism cooperation, and welcomed increased cooperation between the two countries in the area of security during the meeting.
“Had a fruitful meeting with the State Councilor and Minister of Public Security of China, Zhao Kezhi in New Delhi today,” Rajnath tweeted after the two-hour meeting.
The India delegation included Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Intelligence Bureau Director Rajiv Jain and other senior officials of Ministry of Home Affairs and other departments concerned. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju was present during the signing ceremony.
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.
While Rajnath 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.
Officials in the Home Ministry said there had been a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries earlier between 2005-2015.
The agreement followed by the high-level meeting may lead to a future India-China agreement on exchange of sentenced prisoners, the official said.
Currently, India does not have an extradition treaty with China, nor a pact to exchange each other’s sentenced prisoners.
The Chinese delegation earlier in the day also met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Central Reserve Police Force Chief R.R. Bhatnagar.