Wednesday 16th Jan 2019
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GOVT. SLAMMED ON SNOOPING ISSUE

Inside India

The government, particularly External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, has come under fire for asserting that United States’ surveillance activities did not amount to “snooping” and it was “only computer analysis of patterns of calls and e-mails sent.” From the left and the right of the political spectrum, from supporters of a “special” India-U.S. relationship to its critics, there was an almost unanimous view that the government had gone too far to “appease the US”. Terming US actions “cyber-driven invasion of sovereignty,” CPM Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat said: “This is a craven statement of a craven minister of a craven govt. Even the allies are objecting, but this government is justifying what is a clearly illegal act, in violation of UN conventions.” Even UPA allies seemed a bit uneasy with the current approach, though they refrained from offering outright criticism. DP Tripathi of the NCP said, “Government should take this up at a diplomatic level. It must also create a strategy against any possible cyber surveillance. This has not been done yet.” Civil liberties activist Nandita Haksar said that at a time when the rest of the world, including European Union, was taking US to task, India was standing up for it.

Following this wide criticism, the government has promised to take up with the US reports that India’s Washington mission was under close surveillance by the National Security Agency, but shrugged off criticism of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s statement that seemed to let the US off the hook.



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