Top American diplomat says US does not discuss intelligence matters
India’s foreign minister told her visiting counterpart John Kerry Thursday that US surveillance of an ally was “unacceptable” after recent allegations that Washington’s National Security Agency (NSA) targeted the ruling party.
“I raised this issue and even told them that when the news came out in the Indian media, people were angry,” Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said at a joint press conference with Kerry in New Delhi. “I also told them that if we consider each other friendly countries, it is unacceptable that a friendly country spies on other friendly nations.”
A classified document made public by the Washington Post a month ago showed that India’s newly-elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was among authorised targets for the NSA in 2010 while it was in opposition. The revelations prompted India to summon the top diplomat from the American embassy to register a protest. The previous Congress government also complained to the US twice last year over other surveillance revelations, including the disclosure that its UN mission in New York and its Washington embassy were snooped on.
Kerry told reporters that he could not comment about specific allegations but he insisted that US President Barack Obama had made “unprecedented” efforts to ensure better oversight of intelligence. “We have a policy in the United States with respect to intelligence matters, we do not discuss intelligence matters in public,” he said.
“But let me just say very clearly: we value our relationship with India… and we also value the sharing of information between each other regarding counter-terrorism and other threats to both of our countries. “We’ve had conversations, as the minister as stated, with government officials about these reports, and usually we try to have our intelligence communities work to resolve any questions or differences that may exist.”