India cools relations after failed extradition of gunrunner

Diplomatic deep freeze intended to pressure government to hand over gunrunner for trial

In a bid to force the handover of admitted gunrunner Niels Holck, Indian officials announced today they were “freezing” ties with the Danish state.

The move, first reported by the Indian Express citing anonymous sources, has been confirmed by the foreign minister, Lene Espsersen.

According to diplomats and press reports, the decision likely means that all contact with Denmark will now require prior consultation with IndiaÂ’s Foreign Ministry.

India has been identified as one of DenmarkÂ’s most important emerging export markets, and it remains unclear how todayÂ’s development will affect a number of on-going programmes hailed as mutually beneficial to both countries, particularly in the fields of climate and agriculture.

“This is clearly a negative development,” Espersen said. “The Indians have indicated they are no longer interested in collaborating with us. They’ve put us on ice and it will be up to them to decide what the consequences will be.”

In June, the Eastern High Court upheld a lower court ruling overturning a Justice Ministry deal with Indian authorities guaranteeing that the 49-year-old Holck, known in India under the alias Kim Davy,  would not be mistreated in that countryÂ’s penal system.

The so-called diplomatic assurance also stated that if convicted for his part in the 1995 arms drop, Holck would be returned to Denmark within three weeks to serve his term.

Human rights activists welcomed the June decision, but Indian home minister, P Chidambaram, called the verdict “disappointing”, and labelled the Danish apprehensions as unfounded.

After Danish prosecutors announced they would not appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, it was reported that the Indian government had asked its Central Bureau of Investigation to take legal action to pressure Copenhagen to extradite Holck.

The CBI was also said to be considering options such as video conferencing in order to allay the Danish concerns about HolckÂ’s safety.





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