US Envoys were Treated Like Royalty in India
In a marked contrast to the shabby treatment meted out to the Indian diplomats in the US, it has now emerged that the Centre had issued over 40 ‘unnamed’ passes to the US diplomats in India to access all areas of Indian airports, including the operational areas thereby virtually according them the VVIP status.
And this was all the more disturbing since not a single ‘all area’ access pass was issued to Indian diplomats in the US. Before the Devyani Khobragade controversy, an Indian diplomat was humiliated in January, when he wanted to see off his daughter and tried to enter the airport flashing his diplomatic ID card. “He had requested an entry permit but it was denied by the US authorities,” sources said.
According to them, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) had asked the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to scrap all unnamed passes issued to the US embassy saying that it poses a security threat.Despite the BCAS warning, the Union Ministry of External Affairs(MEA)wanted to maintain the status quo.
“Since the US extends no such courtesy to the Indian officials, this disproportionate privilege was unwarranted. With the help of the ‘unnamed’ passes, the US officials were allowed to enter and receive their VIPs from inside the aircraft.
“The US on the other hand never allowed such protocol for Indian officials. Since these were ‘unnamed’ passes, no details of the US officials using them were ever maintained,” sources added.
Following reports of the ill-treatment of Devyani, the MEA on Tuesday took a tough stand and withdrew all airport passes issued to the US Consulates in Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata. “We were asked to withdraw the protocol extended to the US consulates,” sources said.