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05 March 2024

Ministry visit to finalise Indian prisoner swap

Picture used for illustrative purposes only. (FILE)

By Joseph George

A prisoner exchange agreement between UAE and India will be signed during a forthcoming visit by the UAE’s Interior Minister to India.

The exact dates of the visit are still being finalised and will be announced soon said India’s ambassador to the UAE KM Lokesh.

UAE and India, have been involved in discussion about transfer of prisoners in an effort to boost bilateral ties.

“We are waiting for the dates from the Interior Ministry. The discussions are complete and the agreement is expected to be signed during the minister’s visit to India,” said Lokesh.

The two sides have also been involved in discussions to enhance regional security, specifically on issues relating to counter-terrorism and maritime security, co-operation in the field of education and science and technology.

In Dubai alone there are about 600 convicted prisoners and twice the number across the UAE. Meanwhile, commenting on reports that a section of the Indian prisoners were not keen on being transferred to Indian prisons, K Kumar, chairman of the Indian Community Welfare Committee said the opinion is mostly among prisoners with smaller sentences.

“Not all of them want their friends and family members back home to know that they are imprisoned. Some of them also hope to finish their sentence and get back to a normal life back home,” he said.

“However, prisoners serving long-term sentences would favour a return to India,” he added.

According to him there are many Indian prisoners who are in prison despite completing their sentences due to non-payment of diya (blood) money. “Issues about diya money also needs to be finalised before the prisoner transfer becomes a reality,” he added.

Meanwhile, reports quoting Pakistani Ambassador to the UAE Jamil Ahmed Khan said UAE and Pakistan will formally sign the Treaty for the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners after its approval by the Federal Cabinet in Pakistan. The UAE government has already finalised the agreement.