India rejects Edward Snowden's request for political asylum
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The Indian government has rejected the request for asylum by former US government contractor Edward Snowden, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday.
Confirming that the Indian embassy in Moscow did recieve an asylum request from Snowden, Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said: "We don't see any reason to acceed to the request".
Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that India is not an open house for asylums.
His comments came hours after WikiLeaks claimed that Snowden has applied for political asylum in 20 countries, including India.
He, however, told reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional forum meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan that India has given asylums in past, "but we are not an open house for asylums since we have a very careful and objective policy".
Notably, Snowden is currently sheltered in the transit zone of Moscow airport.
These asylum requests have been filed by Sarah Harrison, the legal advisor of WikiLeaks in the matter of Snowden, the whistle-blower website said on Monday night, adding that the first two requests were made to Ecuador, followed by Iceland.
The requests were later made to a number of countries including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italian, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Swiss Confederation, Venezuela.
The Obama Administration has warned countries not to give asylum to Snowden, arguing that he is wanted in the US on charges of espionage and leaking classified information.
Snowden worked for the NSA before he fled to Hong Kong last month with laptops full of confidential information.
He is wanted in the US on the charges of espionage and leaking classified documents. Documents leaked by him last month exposed a systematic and large-scale surveillance of phone and internet communications by the NSA around the world.
According to his leaks, the Indian embassy in the US is among the list of 38 diplomatic missions which were being spied upon by American intelligence agencies.