Print edition : October 30, 2015

GERMANY has refused to sign the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with India, citing the fact that India is yet to abolish the death penalty for heinous offences and terrorism. The question of signing the MLAT came up on October 5 at a meeting of German and Indian officials during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to India. Among issues officials discussed were security cooperation and disaster management. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju signed a memorandum of understanding with Gunte Krings of the Federal Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Germany. It was on the basis of this MoU that the two countries considered the question of signing the MLAT.

According to the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the aim of the MLAT is to secure bilateral cooperation against various forms of crime such as terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and counterfeiting of Indian currency notes. According to the website, India has so far operationalised these treaties with 34 countries, including France, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. As Germany, a leading European Union country, has said no to India on the MLAT, it is unclear at present whether other E.U. countries such as France and the U.K. will review their decision to sign the MLAT with India. India’s ability to counter international terrorism is likely to be compromised because of its failure to abolish the death penalty for all offences, including terrorism.

V. Venkatesan

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