March 23, 2017

Safety of Indians in United States first priority: Sushma

21 March 2017, 02:40 | Austin Hogan

Image for representation only

Image for representation only

On March 2, a U.S. national of Indian origin, Harnish Patel, was shot dead near his house in SC by unknown attackers. The minister was responding to concerns flagged by MPs after she made a statement on recent incidents of attacks in the US. India and the United States share a strategic partnership, a far cry from the days the two countries were seen as "estranged democracies" and on opposite sides during the Cold War years when India was seen as closer to the Soviet Union. The safety and security of Indians and people of Indian origin is primary.

Swaraj's comments come nearly a month after the death of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, who was shot dead in Kansas while another Indian Alok Madasani was injured in the incident.

"We do not treat these incidents as law and order matter. From our side, we are saying that these are 100 per cent incidents of hate crime", she said, adding that the investigation should be carried out from such a perspective.

"Strategic partnership does not mean we will ignore the interests of the Indians", she replied to a question raised by Communist Party of India's D. Raja. "We are not treating it as law and order issue".

"The government has taken up this issue with the US government at very high levels and conveyed our deep concerns".

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Responding to a question in the Rajya Sabha on hate crimes against Indians in the USA, she said that for the Modi government, the interests of Indians take priority over strategic partnerships with other nations.

"For us, strategic partnership with the United States is secondary and the first priority is to ensure safety and security of the Indians and members of the Indian-origin people in the United States". He said, "Hate is coming from the approach of the USA administration".

She said the USA administration is saying that the attacks were individual acts of hate crimes and no trend should be seen in these incidents. "Have no doubts that we would keep silent because we have strategic relations with a country".

"We will remain vigilant to developments impacting the lives of Indian overseas and do everything possible to safeguard their interests and welfare", she said.

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