Indian efforts for return of Norway kids

New Delhi: India today said it would make "all out" efforts to ensure early return of two Indian children from Norway following attempts by authorities of that country to keep them in foster care after expiry of their visa next month.

"We will make all out efforts to achieve the goal of getting back the children to India where they belong," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said.

He was replying to a question on reports that Norwegian officials were trying to keep the children — one-year-old Aishwarya and three-year-old Abhigyan – there after their visas expire next month. The authorities have applied for extension of visa by their own. "It is Government of India`s firm committment that the children must be given the opportunity to come to India," Krishna said.

The Ministry of External Affairs had yesterday reacted sharply to the attempt by Norwegian authorities to keep the children there after expiry of their visa, saying the kids were neither "orphans nor stateless persons", and enjoyed "protection" of the Indian State.

MEA Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had said India was made aware of the fact that the Norwegian authorities were seeking to extend the Residence Permits of the two children. Reacting strongly, he had said any request for extension of Residence Permit on behalf of the children should "emanate from either the parents or the Indian State."

The kids` parents, NRI couple Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya, were accused of negligence by the child welfare officials in Norway and the children were taken away from them in last May and placed in foster care.

The fresh turn of events came nearly a month after Norwegian childcare authorities agreed to hand over the custody of the children to their Kolkata-based uncle, who is currently in Oslo.