US Sharing PNR Data with India

Washington, Dec 10 (IANS): The US is negotiating new agreements with six top countries,including India, on information sharing about passenger travel, known colloquially as PNR, passenger name records, a senior official of the Obama administration said.

"I could mention Najibullah Zazi, David Headley are just two of the individuals that we have helped identify through the PNR data," Janet Napolitano, secretary of homeland security, said here Friday.

Like Headley, who has confessed to his role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Zazi, an Afghan-American, has pleaded guilty to planning suicide bombings on the New York City subway system.

The new future of homeland security is to merge security interests with travel, trade and commercial interests, she said during a discussion on international security partnerships at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington think tank.

"When we talk about finding that sweet spot between security protection and commerce, India is a great example where I think we can have an even more robust relationship than we have right now," she said.
Napolitano said she was just in India as part of the homeland security dialogue, one of the ley deliverables out of the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama.

"So we have sent teams there to work jointly on passenger travel, on counterterrorism, on countering violent extremism, on police training, on all of those kinds of elements, cyber-security being another one," she said. But "there's a lot of work left to be done."

"Part of it is because of the nature of India. It's a big, complicated country, a very different sort of bureaucratic structure than we have," Napolitano said.

"But I think, as we saw with the attack on Mumbai and other issues in India, they have key terrorism issues that we can, I think, provide assistance on."

She said Washington is entering a "new paradigm" in how it engages with foreign partners by focusing on both enhancing security and promoting economic benefits at the same time.


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