New Delhi: Certain flights between India and Germany will have armed marshals on board, according to an MoU signed today by the two sides with an aim of preventing any hijacking attempt.
The MoU, along with another pact on security cooperation, was signed before the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and exchanged during media interaction of the two leaders.
The MoU on "carriage of in-flight security officers within a short time fame" was signed by Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and his German counterpart Gunter Krings.
Rijiju and Krings discussed the threat posed by ISIS terrorist group and ways to cooperate to counter it.
Rijiju also drew attention of Krings about the presence and activities of individuals and organisations that are linked to extremist and terrorist elements operating in India, particularly the Sikh extremists.
"Such extremists elements based in Germany often utilise their places of religious worship to support extremist organisations in India by propaganda and financing. The flag of Khalistan and photographs of terrorists bearing weapons are openly displayed in many Sikh religious places in Germany to incite hatred and anger," the Indian Minister told Krings.
The annual report of the Protection of Constitution published in June 2015 has made specific reference to 'Extremist Sikhs' in the list of extremist organisations of foreigners in Germany.
"I wish to explain that the Sikh community is defined by religion and not ethnicity. The extremist Sikh organisations are trying to agitate religious differences in our country aiming at effecting radical change of the political situation in India by using force and terrorism," he said.
Rijiju said Germany is an important power house and trade partner and signing of the pact will ensure that extremist forces are kept in bay.
"My counterpart was very positive to the issues raised by us and assured full cooperation to India in this regard," he told reporters.
The MoU between India and Germany on security cooperation proposes to intensify cooperation in countering terrorism in all its form, including recruitment, financing, terrorist propaganda, training and terrorists movements.
Countering organised crime, preventing and combating unlawful production, extraction of any narcotic and psychotropic substances are other areas where both the countries will cooperate.
The MoU also covers areas of border protection, aviation security, cyber crime, illegal migration and counterfeit currency.
Under the umbrella of the MoU, there will be exchange of information and both the sides will also share their technological expertise and experience in tackling the issues mentioned.
The pact provides for cooperation on basic and advanced training of security and police officers, in particular police forces.
It will provide strategic platform to the law enforcement agencies for exchange of information on violent extremism and terrorism in its various forms.
The MoU will increase the capacities of both the nations in tackling terrorism and violent ideologies which is a great threat not only for India but also for European countries and all the democracies of the world.
Rijiju also told his German counterpart Gunter Krings that cyber security is another important area of concern where both the countries need to work closely as the issue was discussed at the highest level.
"We need to define contact points on both sides and establish a mechanism for real-time cooperation in this area. Our Foreign Ministers are holding Cyber Dialogue next week.
"Our cyber experts have participated in a workshop on cyber security on German Defence Policy review organised by the German Defence Ministry in Berlin last month. We look forward to mutual exchange of experts on cyber security in future," he said.
India and Germany also agreed to deepen and develop cooperation in the field of disaster management. Under this mechanism, both sides will exchange information, processing technologies and other scientific expertise in the field of disaster management.
The joint declaration also provides for training and capacity building of first responders in civil defence, urban search and rescue, fire services and medical field.
The joint declaration provides for establishment of a joint steering group to over see the fulfilment of objectives of joint declaration.