India not an open house for asylums: Salman Khurshid
Brunei: In a pointer towards government’s possible stand on the political asylum request by former US government contractor Edward Snowden, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said that India is not an open house for asylums.
The minister said that he had no knowledge that Snowden has requested asylum. His comments came hours after WikiLeaks claimed that Snowden has applied for political asylum in 20 countries, including India.
“I wouldn’t want to comment on something that is, maybe, just hearsay,” Khurshid said.
He, however, added 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”.
This statement of his indicates that the Indian government is unlikely to consider the request given that Snowden has no travel documents.
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.