Ahead of Modi visit, India, US finalising two pacts on counter-terrorism, immigration

PM Modi-Pres Obama

India and the US are likely to ink two pacts during the Homeland Security Dialogue in July that would exempt prominent citizens from immigration checks and enable sharing of terror-related information. The two pacts are being finalized and will get political push during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled June 7-8 visit to the US. The two countries are expected to sign pacts on the Global Entry programme and the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6 (HSPD-6).

 The Global Entry programme is a US Customs and Border Protection programme. This programme permits speedy clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival in the US. The HSPD-6 is a model text agreement suggested by the US for exchange of information between the US Terrorist Screening Centre (TSC) and India’s Intelligence Bureau.

By signing the HSPD-6 agreement, India hopes that it will also be provided ready access to information on Internet content hosted on US-based servers that could give leads in counter-terror operations.  The IB had earlier expressed reservations about entering into such an agreement as it believed that the HSPD-6 agreement primarily protected US interests.

As per the agreement in the Global Entry programme, India’s inclusion would help important dignitaries like former Presidents, former PMs, former Union ministers, film stars, top industrialists and prominent frequent flyers who can visit America without immigration hassles.  Around 2,000 prominent Indians are expected to be included in this list. The list would gradually expand after thorough background checks.

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