British Security Minister Tom Tugendhat made the statement in response to India’s ongoing demand for the extradition of billionaire fugitives Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi. He added that the United Kingdom has no intention of providing a haven for anyone who is hiding from punishment.
Tugendhat emphasised that legal procedures must be followed in extradition-related situations without identifying any particular instances.
“We both (the UK and India) have legal processes that must be gone through. But the UK government is absolutely clear, we have no intention of becoming a place where those who are seeking to evade justice can hide,” he told PTI in an interview.
Tugendhat travelled to India for three days from August 10 to 12, principally to attend the G20 ministerial summit on anti-corruption in Kolkata.
He spoke with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in Delhi.
The British Security Minister was responding to a query regarding India’s ongoing demand for the extradition of several British citizens who have committed economic crimes, including Mallya and Nirav Modi.
The fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi is sought in India so he may face fraud and money laundering allegations.
The 52-year-old businessman lost his legal fight against extradition to India in the alleged USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank loan scandal last year in the UK’s highest court.
The phrase “statute barred” presently, however, denotes that there is still litigation proceeding in his case.
Mallya, who escaped to the UK in March 2016, is sought after in India for the failure of a loan totaling Rs 9,000 crore that numerous banks provided to Kingfisher Airlines.
When asked about his discussions with NSA Doval, the British Security Minister declined to provide specifics, although he did mention that the two countries’ extensive bilateral collaboration is centred on ensuring the security and prosperity of their inhabitants.
“We’re talking about the security of our two nations and the prosperity of our citizens, their ability to conduct their business at home and abroad,” he said.
“But we’re also talking about the challenges we face and we’ve both made it clear in different ways that the challenge of China is one that faces us both and we’ve seen incidents on your northern border, but we’ve also seen the way in which technology has changed and the way in which we need to address it as areas in which we need to have greater cooperation,” he said.
How India and the UK are cooperating in new technologies relating to artificial intelligence Tugendhat highlighted.
“We see today that India is not just a centre of Indian AI, it’s also a centre of British AI,” he said.
“There are many firms whose data points, whose data sources are located here, often in Bangalore, and using the extraordinary technical capabilities of Indian AI experts to analyse data and to improve the productivity of their businesses,” he added.
“This is a fantastic benefit both to the United Kingdom and of course to India. And so making sure that we’re able to do that, we’re protecting our interests and we’re developing those technologies is absolutely essential to our common future,” Tugendhat noted.
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