India and the US are expected to firm up the list of terror fugitives and exchange names of individuals for the global entry programme (GEP) during the visit of officials from the US Department of Homeland Security on July 18, officials have confirmed. While the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6 (HSPD-6) enables sharing of terror-related information, GEP exempts prominent citizens from immigration checks.
During the visit next week, the Union Home Ministry will also take up the cooperation agreement between Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) of the US and the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) of India on law enforcement training, added an official.
The dialogue is being held ahead of the twice-deferred 2+ 2 meeting between the foreign and defence ministers of India and the US. The 2+2 dialogue, which may see finalisation of the Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), is likely to be held in September this year in Delhi, said another official. Also Read: India’s first ‘2+2’ dialogue with US to take place in September: Nirmala Sitharaman
The 2+2 talks were deferred first on April 18 and then on July 6. Officials familiar with the India-US meet said that New Delhi plans to finalise the names of nearly 1,000 prominent Indians to be included in GEP by October this year — the list will be expanded later. On the basis of HSPD-6 agreement, India will seek access to “unclassified biographic information of known and suspected terrorists” maintained by the US.
There have been several rounds of discussions between the interlocutors of the two countries in the past two years and both sides have narrowed down their differences on several key issues on sharing of data on militants. The US has already finalised such agreements with 30 countries.
The FBI-administered Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) consolidates several terrorist watch lists maintained by different US government agencies into a single database on terror suspects.
The database includes the name of the terror suspect, nationality, date of birth, photos, fingerprints and passport number. Indian security agencies had initially expressed their reservations, saying the arrangement primarily protects US interests. However, later, the security agencies came to the conclusion that there was no disadvantage in entering into the proposed pact with TSC. The Intelligence Bureau is the nodal agency for the pact.