In a brief meeting with his Norwegian counterpart on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit here on Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he hoped for an “amicable” solution to the ongoing battle for custody of two Indian toddlers between their parents and family, on the one hand, and the Child Welfare Service in Stavanger, which has placed them in permanent foster care.
Indian officials said Dr. Singh told Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg that a “good” solution was needed, which would satisfy the law, and ensure the welfare of the children and the interest of their parents, Sagorika and Anurup Bhattacharya. “[Our] Prime Minister emphasised the deep sense of family values prevalent in India … and the feeling that parents are best equipped to take care of their children,” a senior Indian official quoted him as saying.
Mr. Stoltenberg, who actually raised the issue before the Indian side could get to it, told Dr. Singh that the Stavanger municipality is planning to take the next steps “in consultation with the district court and all parties concerned,” the official said.
Officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, which has taken some flak from the media following revelations about marital discord between the Bhattacharyas, told The Hindu that the Indian government could not wash its hand of the fate of the two children, who are Indian nationals, just because all was not well between the husband and the wife.
On his part, Mr. Stoltenberg raised the issue of the recent cancellation of 2G licences, which has hit Norwegian firm Telenor and its Indian arm, Uninor. Dr. Singh replied that there had been a judicial pronouncement in the matter.