Ties with U.S. secondary to Indians' security: Sushma Swaraj

Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said that recent incidents of attacks on Indian nationals were condemned by the US administration and the US Congress. File

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In remarks to members in the upper house of Parliament, or the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj said: "Strategic partnership (with the US) is secondary". The safety and security of Indians and people of Indian origin is primary. "We have strategic partnership with the United States that should not prevent us to raise our independent voice", he added.

In her response, Swaraj said, "Strategic Partnership does not mean that we will compromise with our national interest..." Following the message, Swaraj on Monday assured him that she has asked Indian High Commission to renew her Indian passport and facilitate her return to India. She said the foreign secretary had discussed the matter with senior USA functionaries during his recent visit to the U.S. from February 28 to March 3.

"Till date, the USA authorities are saying these are sporadic incidents".

In last few weeks, at least attacks on Indians in the US have been reported. "From our side, we are saying that these are 100 per cent incidents of hate crime", she said, adding that the investigation should be carried out from such a perspective. On March 2, Harnish Patel, a us national of Indian origin, was shot dead by unknown individuals in Lancaster, South Carolina. Two days later, another United States national of Indian origin was shot near Seattle after being asked to leave the country.

"The government has taken up this issue with the USA government at very high levels and conveyed our deep concerns. We are watching if there is any trend being set", Swaraj said.

"Several senators and congressmen have also expressed their condolences and regret over the tragic incidents".

Through embassy and consulates, she said, close contacts are being maintained with the local Indian community groups to address any emergent issues.

Swaraj was speaking in Parliament and her comments came amid a spike in attacks on Indian nationals and people of Indian origin in the US.

"We are in a continuous dialogue with the USA government".

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