India may seek help of US for Dawood extradition

Washington: India may seek US’ help for extradition of Dawood Ibrahim, the mastermind of 1993 Mumbai blasts, as they vowed to make “joint and concerted efforts” to dismantle safe havens for terror and criminal networks like LeT, JeM, D-company, Al-Qaeda and Haqqani network.

A joint US-India Joint Statement expressing this resolve after the summit talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama at the White House yesterday came on a day the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions against individuals and networks linked to two militant groups based in Pakistan.

“The leaders stressed the need for joint and concerted efforts, including the dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-company, and the Haqqanis,” the statement said while referring to issues relating to Homeland Security Cooperation.

D-company is a reference to Dawood Ibrahim, an underworld don who is the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai blasts. On March 12, 1993, serial bomb blasts rocked the western metropolis at various places, killing more than 250 and injuring over 700.

The statement is considered significant as Dawood is widely believed to be in Pakistan, and the Haqqani network, which has been active along the Afghanistan border, has been working against both Indian and US interests. Dawood is also believed to often shuttle between Dubai and Karachi.

Indications were that India would seek US help in getting Dawood extradited to face trial in India.

Indian External Affairs Ministry officials declined to elaborate on the Dawood issue beyond the resolve of the two countries to fight terror and criminal elements as reflected in the joint statement.

“Samajdhar ke liye ishara hi kafi hai” (A hint is enough for a wise person),” the ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters in reply to questions in this regard.

In October 2003, the US designated Dawood as a global terrorist having links with Al Qaeda and financing activities of LeT and other terrorist organisations.

Pledging to intensify cooperation in counter-terrorism and security, the two countries also agreed to step up intelligence sharing.

Sharing concerns over the threat of terrorism in South Asia and emerging challenges in West Asia, where Islamist group ISIS has been on the rampage, Modi during a joint media appearance with Obama said the two countries agreed to intensify cooperation in counter terrorism and intelligence sharing.

Modi and Obama also reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the November 2008 terror attack which killed 166 people.

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Free Press Journal