Report awaited from Washington mission over the incident

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said Indian Ambassador to the United States Meera Shankar being subject to a “pat down” was not good diplomacy.

She said the External Affairs Ministry was awaiting a report from its Washington mission before taking up the matter with the U.S. government.

“We have also asked our Embassy in Washington to give us a detailed report on the incident. We haven't as yet received that, but we will be certainly be looking at that before we take further action,” Ms. Rao told journalists here on Friday on the sidelines of a function on public diplomacy.

“It wasn't good public diplomacy and we will certainly be speaking with the American Embassy here,” she added. The Foreign Secretary added that the Ministry was also in touch with Washington over previous instances of pat down and intrusive search of envoys and Central ministers.

“We have an ongoing discussion with them on this, and we will take it up.”

Government sources here said Ms. Shankar was subjected to a pat down about two months ago at the Chicago airport. Around the same time, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel was closely questioned at the same airport because his name matched with that of another person on the U.S. watch-list.

Adopt same procedure: CPI(M)

Reacting to the latest incident, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said it was not enough for the government to say this treatment was unacceptable.

Since the U.S. authorities had said that Ambassadors were not exempt from security searches, India should adopt a reciprocal approach. U.S. Ambassador to India Tim Roemer too should be subjected to security searches on domestic flights in India, suggested the party.

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