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Nat’l interest won’t be compromised for strategic partnership: Sushma

| | New Delhi

In the wake of recent attacks on Indians in the United States, the Centre on Monday asserted that national interest will not be compromised for the sake of Strategic Partnership with that country. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj stated that the attacks were “hate crimes” and not a simple law and order issue and expressed confidence that the Trump Administration will not let these incidents become a trend and is keeping a close watch on it.

“We do not treat these incidents as law and order matter. It is not as simple as that. From our side, we are saying that these are 100 per cent incidents of hate crime,” Swaraj said in her statement in Rajya Sabha on the issue of three incidents of attacks on Indians in the US.

“We are taking up this matter at the highest level. We are watching if there is any trend being set,” Swaraj said. She said the US administration is saying that the attacks were individual acts of hate crimes and no trend should be seen in these incidents.

On February 22, 32-year old Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead by a US national in Kansas city, while on March 2 Harnish Patel, a US national of Indian origin, was shot dead. On March 4, Deep Rai, a US national of Indian origin, was shot by an unknown person in Kent near Seattle.

CPI leader D Raja voiced apprehension that the Strategic Partnership could come in the way of India taking up this issue with the US.

In her response, Swaraj said, “Strategic Partnership does not mean that we will compromise with our national interest... Do not think that we will remain silent because of Strategic Partnership. The Strategic Partnership is secondary. First comes the security and safety of our nationals.”

The Minister said that the manner in which the US Government has responded, India hopes that these incidents would not become a trend.

“I want to assure the House that despite having a Strategic Partnership and good relations with the US, the safety and security of Indians remains our top priority. We will never ignore that,” the Minister said.

She said India is in continuous dialogue with the US Government on this issue. Through embassy and consulates, she said, close contacts are being maintained with the local Indian community groups to address any emergent issues.

“The Government has taken up this issue with the US Governments at a very high level and conveyed our deep concerns. We have called for necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of Indian diaspora and expeditious investigation into these incidents,” Swaraj said.

“The US authorities have responded strongly and assured us that they are working with all concerned agencies to ensure speedy justice,” the External Affairs Minister added.

Seeking clarifications from Swaraj on her statement, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury asked whether the Government is treating these incidents as law and order matter or growing hate atmosphere in US. He said there is a certain degree of xenophobia being developed in the US and that is reflecting in this sort of hate against outsiders.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav complemented Swaraj for her efforts in this matter. T Subbarami Reddy, who has raised this issue in the House on March 16, said this is a serious matter and asked the Government to take it up at the highest level with the US President to prevent these type of incidents in the future.

 
 
 

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