India today summoned senior US diplomats in Delhi to lodge a strong protest over a report that America's National Security Agency was authorized in 2010 to snoop on the BJP. Calling it 'unacceptable', New Delhi sought an assurance from the US that it won't happen again.
The BJP, which took power in May, was among six political outfits in the world that the National Security Agency or NSA was allowed to spy upon, according to classified documents reportedly leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Sources said New Delhi told the diplomats that in July and November last year, when reports of such "intrusion of privacy" first came, it had taken this up with the US.
"We told the Americans that our concerns remain and want the US to revert on facts. We want an assurance that it won't happen again," top sources said.
Documents made public by Washington Post on Monday revealed that the BJP was listed along with the Pakistan People's Party and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood among outfits for whom the NSA had sought permission to carry out surveillance.
The document lists India among 193 foreign governments and other entities that America's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court said the NSA could spy on "for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence." "Virtually no foreign government is off-limits for the National Security Agency, which has been authorized to intercept information 'concerning' all but four countries, according to top-secret documents," The Post reported.
The four countries exempt from surveillance were Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, leaked thousands of classified documents to the media, uncovering global snooping by US agencies and triggered an outrage worldwide.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had an uneasy relationship with the US over Washington's decision to revoke his visa over the 2002 riots in Gujarat on Modi's watch. After taking over as PM, however, Modi showed his readiness to move forward and accepted President Barack Obama's invitation for a bilateral meeting.