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US cyber snooping unacceptable, says India

New Delhi: India on Thursday raised the issue of America's cyber snooping on the country, saying it was "unacceptable" as visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry in a conciliatory note said the US would continue to work with India wherever they saw a "threat to shared interests".


External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj shakes hands with U S Secretary of State John Kerry at a meeting in New Delhi on Thursday. Pic/PTI Subhav Shukla

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, addressing a joint press briefing with Kerry after the Fifth India-US Strategic Dialogue, said that she conveyed to Kerry that the people of India were very agitated over US surveillance activities. "I also said if we consider each other friends then a friendly country spying on another is unacceptable."

Kerry, in reply, said that, "The US fully respects and understands the feelings expressed by the minister."

He said the US values its relationship with India and, "We also value the sharing of information regarding counter-terrorism, and we had conversations with government officials and we try to with intelligence communities".

He said President Barack Obama has undertaken a "unique and unprecedented review" of the US intelligence and intelligence gathering and gave a speech articulating American approach to the standards that will apply to it.

Sushma Swaraj's raising the issue of US internet snooping by its intelligence agency, the National Security Agency, comes days after Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in parliament that the government would not accept breach of any Indian law relating to privacy of people by American intelligence agencies.

The US has been facing flak from numerous countries, including Germany and Brazil, following revelations that the NSA snooped on phone conversations and the internet mail of the leaders of those countries.

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