External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday defended the vast U.S. surveillance programme under which India is the fifth most tracked country, saying, “it is not actually snooping.”

“This is not scrutiny and access to actual messages. It is only computer analysis of patterns of calls and emails that are being sent. It is not actually snooping on specifically on content of anybody’s message or conversation”, Mr. Khurshid, who is currently in Brunei to attend series of ASEAN meetings, told reporters.

“Some of the information they (the US) got out of their scrutiny, they were able to use it to prevent serious terrorist attacks in several countries,” he said.

The remarks are in contrast with that of the ministry, which had initially termed as “unacceptable” any privacy violation after whistleblower Edward Snowden, a former technical assistant for the CIA, had blown the lid off US’ National Security Agency’s secret spy programme.

As per the leaked documents, India has emerged as the fifth most tracked country by the US intelligence which used a secret data-mining programme to monitor worldwide internet data.

Meanwhile, quoting the latest documents provided by Snowden, The Guardian newspaper reported over the weekend that US intelligence services were also spying on 38 embassies and diplomatic missions of its allies that included India.

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