India Tuesday turned down the request of US whistleblower and former intelligence contractor for the NSA Edward Snowdens request for asylum. He had approached the government through the Indian Mission in Moscow.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said,Earlier today our Embassy in Moscow did receive a communication dated 30 June from Mr Edward Snowden. That communication did contain a request for asylum. We have carefully examined the request. We have concluded that we see no reason to accede to the request.
Snowden is currently in Russian airport. A former CIA employee,he had leaked details of top-secret US mass surveillance programmes and has been booked for violating US espionage laws. His leaks revealed that the US used a secret data-mining programme to monitor worldwide internet data to spy on other countries,including India.
Meanwhile,External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has defended the US surveillance programme in which India is the fifth most-tracked country. This is not scrutiny and access to actual messages. It is only computer analysis of patterns of calls and emails that are being sent. It is not actually snooping specifically on content of anybodys message or conversation. Some of the information they got out of their scrutiny,they were able to use it to prevent serious terrorist attacks in several countries, said Khurshid,currently in Brunei to attend Asean meetings.
Meanwhile,the CPM asked the government to lodge a strong protest with the US against the snooping activities targeting Indian embassy in Washington and slammed Khurshid for playing down the issue.
The UPA government should have strongly protested against such surveillance and bugging. Instead,it is shocking that Khurshid has sought to justify it. This shameful remark has come at a time when even the close allies of the US like Germany and France have protested against the snooping on their countries, the party said.