New Delhi: With India strongly reacting to
the `pat-down` search of Ambassador Meera Shankar at an
American airport, a regretful US on Friday said it was trying to
find a "balance" between security concerns and "respect for
each other" so that such incidents do not recur.
US Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Lu, terming Shankar as
one of most impressive diplomats, said Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton and Governor of Mississippi have already
expressed regret over the incident and indicated their desire
to revisit existing policies.
"We both India and America -- the two large democracies
-- faced very terrible terrorist attacks and all of us have to
find a balance between security and our respect for each
other. We are trying to do that in the US, We struggle to have
that balance set right," he said here.
Noting that the airport screening is a "huge issue" in
the US, he said only purpose of having airport security is to
make passengers safe and secure.
Lu also hailed Shankar for her contribution in
strengthening ties between India and the US.
"We all have tremendous respect for Ambassador Meera
Shankar. She is one of the most impressive diplomats working
today for India. What she has done personally for the Indo-US
relationship is well known and we have tremendous respect for
her," he said.
Reacting strongly, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna
has called the pat-down of Shankar as "unacceptable" and said
the matter would be taken up with the American government.
The Ministry has already asked the its Mission in
Washington to give a detailed report on the incident.
Shankar was pulled out from an airport security line on
December 4 and patted down by an American security agent in
Mississippi despite being told of her diplomatic status.
The incident took place at the Jackson-Evers
International Airport where sari-clad Shankar was about to
board a flight to Baltimore after attending the Mississippi
State University`s programme.
Shankar presented her diplomatic papers to officers and
was escorted by a Mississippi Development Authority
representative and an airport security officer, but witnesses
said she was subjected to the hands-on search.