India, on Thursday, 31 July, curtly told the visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry that it (India) would not accept US agencies snooping on the country.
Documents, leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, say that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is among the list of non-US political parties, on which the US agencies like NSA have spied after the US government's authorisation.
Now, Kerry is on a three-day visit to India, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's September visit to the US. The visiting US dignitary is scheduled to meet Modi on Friday, 1 August.
Soon after the fifth India-US strategic dialogue in New Delhi Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the media: "I told Secretary Kerry that this was completely unacceptable to us as India and US are friendly countries. Friends don't snoop on each other," The Times of India quoted.
After Modi-headed National Democratic Alliance (NDA) took over the government in India, Kerry-Swaraj meeting marks the high-level talks between the two world's largest democracies. Snowden's leaked documents reveal that the US agency NSA spied BJP in 2010.
NSA had even spied on other non-US political parties like Lebanon's Amal, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Pakistan People's Party in Pakistan. India figured as the fifth most tracked country by US spy agencies by using clandestine data-mining programme.
On his part, Kerry said, "Usually, we try to have our intelligence communities' work to resolve any questions or differences that may exist." He added that US values its friendship with India and work with it jointly on counter-terrorism and other common threats to both the countries.
Kerry further said that US respects and understands the feelings expressed by Swaraj. In their joint media conference, both Kerry and Swaraj called upon Pakistan to take action against perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
The two leaders said both India and US reiterate their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms. They also expressed commitment to eliminate safe havens of terror outfits al-Qaida and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Kerry and Swaraj expressed their hope that the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Modi in Washington in September would result in new dynamism between India and the US.