In 2004, the seniormost US senator, Edward Kennedy was repeatedly stopped at domestic airports and often denied entry into aircrafts. Despite his pleas, and the knowledge of the Transportation Security Administration that he was one of the country’s most respected politicians, Kennedy was not given special treatment. In a matter of 45 days, he was denied tickets five times as his name kept cropping up in a terror watch list.
One may joke about the American intelligence system (and indeed the intelligence of the US airport security apparatus), but here’s the thing: not once did Senator Kennedy stop the TSA from doing its job. Instead, he took the correct approach raising the issue in the US Senate so that the law could be made more effective.
Contrast this with each time some Indian VIP is stopped or frisked at American airports. On Friday, Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan was stopped and briefly detained at Boston airport. The incident resulted in the Indian consulate in New York intervening and getting him out of the airport.
Are Indian politicians born with an extreme sense of entitlement? People of all religions get detained at US airports and while it is true that racial profiling is the bane of the American security system, it is more than evident that it has managed to keep external terrorists out of their airports ever since September 11, 2001.
Mr Khan should have realised that he is visiting the US, while a diplomatic passport does give him certain privileges, it does not give him immunity. The same goes for all Indian VIPs. After all, American airports are not Indian airports.