India’s UN envoy has no problem with pat down searches (With Hardeep Puri main interview)By Arun Kumar, IANS
Sunday, January 2, 2011
WASHINGTON - As a “global citizen” India’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Hardeep Singh Puri, has no problem with the controversial ‘pat down’ searches at US airports and seeks no exemption for himself.
“There is no controversy whatsoever. Insofar as I am concerned, no pat down took place,” Puri told IANS referring to an incident with him at Texas airport in November. “I don’t know why there is an attempt to generate a controversy.”
“I know what the American procedures are. I never asked for any exemption. And I would not on security ask for an exemption for myself.
“When I was going through the security scanner, there was no beep. So when he asked for a pat down, I said ‘your rules provide that I can do the pat down myself’ and that’s what happened. So where is the controversy?” Puri asked.
Referring to External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s comment that such searches of diplomats are “unacceptable”, the envoy said: “Let’s take two things. What Mr Krishna said was in the context of what happened to (the Indian envoy to the US) Meera Shankar, who was patted down twice.”
“So far as my pat down is concerned, I made it absolutely clear as I am telling you now, no pat down took place. There was an attempt at a pat down. You can take exception to that.
“But, as I said, personally for me, I am not even objecting to the pat down. I said I am a global citizen and if there are security rules, I’ll happily comply with them.”
Asked how such incidents could be avoided, Puri said: “That’s for the government authorities in New Delhi to do. So far as I am concerned, these are security regulations which the US has and it’s for them to decide whether certain categories should be exempt or not.”
“If I have any suggestions to give, I’ll give them to my government directly. I am not going to be sending suggestions through the press, howsoever friendly.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)