India ‘surprised’ by US spy programme reports

"It’ll be unacceptable to us if our laws on privacy of information are violated"

Updated - November 16, 2021 08:43 pm IST

Published - June 11, 2013 07:52 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

India on Tuesday voiced its concern at and surprise over reports that it was the fifth most tracked country by the American intelligence apparatus, which reportedly used a secret data-mining programme to monitor worldwide Internet data.

“We feel that the Cyber Security Dialogue coordinated by the National Security Councils on both sides is the appropriate forum to discuss such issues. We intend to seek information and details during consultations between interlocutors on both sides on this matter. If Indian laws relating to privacy of information about ordinary Indian citizens have been violated, surely we will find it unacceptable,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

“Yes, we are concerned and surprised over it,” he said noting that reports about the spy programme was an evolving situation.

“We will take it as it evolves and have a better understanding and a clearer paradigm of how to tackle this issue once broader parameters in its entirety are available for us,” he said.

According to The Guardian newspaper, India was the fifth most tracked country with 6.3 billion pieces of information being collected from the country’s computer and data networks in one month alone. The daily claims to have acquired top secret documents about the U.S.’ National Security Agency’s data-mining tool, called Boundless Informant.

Khurshid’s Norway visit

On External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s current visit to Norway as India embraces the Arctic Council, the spokesperson said India was also wooing the $ 700 billion sovereign wealth fund of Norway.

He said the Minister would take forward discussions that Fund officials had here with senior government officials, including Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia in April.

“The Minister will see how to facilitate investments in to the country, including in the infrastructure sector,” the spokesman said. The sovereign wealth fund, reportedly one of the richest in the world, was a government pension fund. During the visit, Mr. Khurshid would also have a bilateral meeting with the Norwegian Foreign Minister and other senior officials, including the Prime Minister.

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