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Qatar to help India battle 'hawala', terror financing

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06 June 2016

India and Qatar on Sunday agreed to share intelligence to combat 'hawala' transactions and terror financing as the two countries, signed seven agreements and decided to move beyond the trading relationship and get into strategic investments.

The two sides highlighted the need to ''isolate'' the sponsors and supporters of terrorism and agreed that urgent action against all such entities, which support terrorism and use it as an instrument of policy, must be taken.

At the end of wide-ranging talks that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit, had with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Qatari leadership, the two sides decided to constitute an inter-ministerial high-level joint committee to regularly review all bilateral matters, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.

''Crucial agreements were signed today, which will give new strength to India-Qatar ties,'' said Modi.

''Sheikh Tamim and I had wide ranging talks on how India and Qatar can further expand bilateral ties,'' he tweeted.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Finance Intelligence Unit -India (FIU) and Qatar Financial Information Unit to share intelligence on illegal movement of money, termed as 'hawala'.

''The two sides further agreed to take action against illegal transfer of money,'' a joint statement issued after the talks said.

There is a lot of money flow and investment from Qatar. A number of black money investigations have taken Indian authorities to Qatar's shores and such an MoU is seen as a move to help combat money offences.

Under this pact, the two sides also agreed to exchange financial intelligence to combat terrorism financing and other economic offences.

Briefing reporters, Secretary (Economic Relations) Amar Sinha said, ''They (Qatari side) also realise that terror does pose a threat to both of us and to our region.

''Both the sides felt that the time has come that we need to move beyond the trading relationship and get into strategic investments.''

Strongly condemning the phenomenon of international terrorism, Modi and the Emir resolved to cooperate together to root out this global menace.

They asserted that acts of violence, terrorism and extremism cannot be justified under any circumstances, regardless of their motivation, in all their forms and manifestations.

''The two leaders highlighted the need to isolate the sponsors and supporters of terrorism and agreed that urgent action against all such entities, which support terrorism and use it as an instrument of policy, must be taken,'' the statement said.

The two sides also underlined the need to ''disrupt terrorist movements, stopping all sources for financing of terrorism and countering terrorist propaganda through internet''.

Modi was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour at the Emiri Diwan, the seat of power of Qatar's ruler, which was followed by official bilateral talks between the two leaders.

''The full splendour of an Arab welcome as PM @narendramodi receives ceremonial honours at Emiri Diwan in Doha,'' external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted along with a photo.

''Final bilateral engagement is an important meeting with the Father Emir of Qatar. PM @narendramodi calls on him at Old Emiri Diwan,'' he said in another tweet, referring to Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani who announced his abdication as leader of the gas-rich Gulf state in June 2013 following which Sheikh Tamim became the Emir.

The Prime Minister has been focusing on improving ties with the Gulf region which is crucial for India's energy security. He has already visited United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.





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