India angry with envoy frisking

MEA seeks report from Indian Embassy in Washington

India angry with envoy frisking

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said here on Thursday that New Delhi would take it up with Washington and ask the US Government to ensure such incidents do not recur.

“Let me be frank, this is unacceptable to India. We are going to take it up with the US government that such unpleasant incidents do not recur,” Krishna told journalists outside Parliament.

He said the way Shankar was frisked at the airport in Mississippi on December 4 was in violation of “certain well-established conventions, well-established practices as to how members of diplomatic corps are treated”.

“I am rather surprised by the way the Indian Ambassador to the US has been treated. This has happened for a second time in three months,” added the External Affairs Minister.

Highly placed sources said  the Ministry of External Affairs had sought a report from the Indian Embassy in Washington on the incident at the Jackson-Evers International Airport. The MEA would take it up with the US State Department after receiving the report.

Meanwhile, former Indian envoy to the US Ronen Sen said that security screening at the airports was applicable to dignitaries from all countries, with the exceptions of Union Cabinet Ministers on official visits. Sen said that such screenings were not new and he too had similar experiences between 2004 and 2009, not only in the US, but also in Germany.

“The exception is not applicable for people on private visits. It is not even applicable for Ambassadors, Governors, Chief Ministers or Ministers of State. It does not apply to former Presidents or the former PMs,” said the retired Indian Foreign Service official.

Meanwhile, US Transport Security Administration (TSA) officials in Washington reacted to the uproar over frisking of Shankar saying diplomats were not exempt from the searches.
Meera Shankar “was screened in accordance with TSA’s security policies and procedures”, spokesman Nicholas Kimball said. 

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