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Govt awaiting US response over intelligence surveillance

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 15:57

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday said it was awaiting a "substantive" response from the US over the reports of American intelligence surveillance over Indian Embassy in Washington and its Mission to the UN in New York as revealed by whistle blower Edward Snowden.

Minister of State for External Affairs Preenet Kaur told Lok Sabha that Government has already expressed concerns over the reports and raised the issue with senior US officials.

"Government is aware of media reports stating that the US National Security Agency spied on 38 diplomatic missions of foreign countries including the Indian Embassy in Washington DC by implanting bugs and using specialised antennae.

"Government has expressed concerns over the reports of monitoring of the Indian Embassy and of our Mission to the UN in New York by US agencies. Government has raised these concerns with the US side at senior official levels. A substantive US response is waited," Kaur said, replying to a question.

The reports of US intelligence snooping on various countries including India had emerged in July.

Snowden, 30, had blown the lid off National Security Agency`s secret spy programme and is charged with violating American espionage laws.

Snowden is charged with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence.

Replying to a separate question on Snowden`s plea seeking asylum in India, Kaur said it was rejected after considering a number of issues.

"In not accepting Snowden`s request for political asylum, government was guided by a number of considerations, including the nature of his request and the legal implications of this issue," she said.

The Minister said it was evident at that stage that there was no specific clarity on Snowden`s concerns regarding his apprehensions to his safety and security.

"Further, since it was unclear at that stage what the charges were against Snowden in the US and his legal status in the Russian Federation, where he was at the time of requesting political asylum, it was not possible to make a definitive determination on the legal implications for India if his request was entertained," she said.

First Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 15:57
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