Access Passes Withdrawn in Only Four Airports - The New Indian Express

Access Passes Withdrawn in Only Four Airports

Published: 19th December 2013 08:12 AM

Last Updated: 19th December 2013 08:12 AM

Despite the outrage over the ill-treatment of Devyani Khobragade in the US, India’s crackdown on privileges extended to US diplomats appears to be selective.

A senior official told Express that airport passes of only four US Consulates — Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata  — were withdrawn after the Civil Aviation Ministry received a missive from the Ministry of External Affairs but passes of the US embassy in Delhi, where all the diplomats are based, haven’t been touched.

“The airport passes of US embassy officials in Delhi were not withdrawn. There is likely to be a review meeting of all the passes on Thursday,” the official said.

The government had issued over 40 unnamed passes allowing US diplomats access to all areas at airports, despite strong objection from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). Authorities confirmed unnamed passes, which extend undue privileges to US diplomats in Delhi, were not withdrawn.

“The government will have to give a clear direction if these passes need to be scrapped. The US is not extending such a courtesy to our officials in Washington and any privilege should now be on reciprocal basis,” another official said.

Meanwhile, the BCAS refused to clear a US diplomatic bag asking the Embassy officials to comply with security guidelines, which require a 24-hour cooling-off period if such bags are not screened for explosive substances. 

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