NEW DELHI: India has said that it will be “totally unacceptable” if it is found that privacy of Indian nationals or organisations has been transgressed, as per a US media report that the National Security Agency had got the authorisation of a US court in 2010 to spy on various foreign governments and organisations, including the BJP.
“If what you say is correct, it is totally unacceptable that privacy of Indian individuals or organisations is transgressed upon,” said MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin on Tuesday.
The BJP leaders appeared concerned over the reports of spying as an attempt to interfere in country’s democratic process.
‘The Washington Post’ reported, based on documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, that US’s electronic spy agency, NSA, had been given broad ranging authorisation to collect intelligence by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court(FISA) in 2010 over 193 foreign governments, as well as political organisations and other entities. Each year, a new certification has to be approved by the FISA court.
India figures twice on the list of 193 foreign governments and the BJP among 6 foreign-based political organisations. This is the first time that the Narendra Modi Government has to deal with reports of NSA spying on Indian entities.
This issue had come up during the previous UPA regime, with then National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, reportedly taking up matter of snooping on Indian entities with the then US ambassador Nancy Powell.
Then External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had also discussed it when US Secretary of State John Kerry was in India last year.
Akbaruddin noted that India’s “view is very clear” that it is “extremely” disturbing that privacy laws have been “undermined”. He added that India has previously raised it both with the US embassy here, as well as in Washington.
“This is serious. We will definitely see what has actually happened. If some organisation was targeted... it is serious. We will definitely take up the issue after we cross-check the facts,” said Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar.
BJP general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the matter was of “deep concern” and needed to be authenticated.