Modi discusses Zakir Naik extradition with Mahathir


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took up with his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohammed the issue of extradition of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik who faces charges of terrorism and money laundering.

Modi met Mahathir on the sidelines of the fifth meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held in Vladivostok.

Briefing reporters on the meeting between Modi and Mahathir, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the Indian Prime Minister raised the issue of Naik's extradition from Malaysia during his meeting with the Malaysian PM.

"Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us," Gokhale said. Naik, a 53-year-old radical television preacher, left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to Malaysia where he was granted permanent residency.

He is wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches.

He has been banned from public activities in Malaysia after his remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Chinese on August 8.

Gokhale said the growing threat of terrorism also figured in the talks between Modi and Mahathir.

"Prime Minister Modi explained to Mahathir the rationale behind the reorganization of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in terms of both giving effective governance and delivering socio-economic justice. And in that context the two leaders discussed the focus was on terrorism, on how to combat the growing threat of terrorism," Gokhale said.

"Prime Minister Mahathir acknowledged that terrorism was a global problem and Malaysia is against any form terrorism," he added.

India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status on August 5 and has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370.