China has turned down India’s proposal to sign an “umbrella” agreement on security cooperation, an initiative pending since the visit to Beijing in 2015 by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Government sources said Beijing has returned India’s draft, asking New Delhi to re-draft the proposal and has suggested sector-wise multiple agreements instead of an “umbrella” agreement in the fields of intelligence, narcotics, human trafficking and terrorism.
This development comes at a time when New Delhi and Beijing are at loggerheads over the visit of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh.
Officials in North Block, who pointed out that the two developments may not be related, said they are working on sector-wise multiple agreement proposals on security and terrorism cooperation.
“We have received some communication from Beijing and are discussing the matter with our agencies. They (China) want an agency-to-agency agreement instead of a common agreement. The process may cause further delay in finalising the agreement,” an official told The Indian Express.
Some groups and sub-groups have been formed to study the feasibility and seek comments from various stakeholders including CBI and NIA. Besides terrorism, India is keen to set up a mechanism for cooperation on tackling transnational crimes, cyber crime and a 24×7 hotline to exchange information. This was conveyed to Meng Jianzhu, an influential politburo member of the Chinese Communist Party, during his visit to New Delhi last November, officials said.
India was hopeful that the security agreement will allow it to obtain some information on Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar who has so far eluded UN listing as a global terrorist because of a Chinese veto. The pact between the two countries, according to officials, could have also helped New Delhi zero-in on top ULFA leader Paresh Barua who is believed to be in hiding at the trijunction of India, China and Myanmar.