India not satisfied with US regret over SRK case

Moscow: Not satisfied with the US regret over detention of Shahrukh Khan at an airport for the second time, India today said "mechanical apologies" will not help and the US should have a serious look at its procedures to ensure there is no repetition. "I am rather surprised that this should repeat in the United States… even last time an apology was given to us but again there is a repetition of the same. So this mechanical apologies are not going to improve matters," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told PTI here.

"They (the US) will have to seriously look into the procedures which they have put in place. They should be helpful in our bilateral events," he said. Shahrukh, on his way to address students at Yale University, was detained by immigration officials for nearly two hours after arriving in a private plane at White Plains Airport, about 53 kilometres from Manhattan. He was given immigration clearance after intervention by the Consulate General of India (CGI) and the US Customs and Border Protection authorities expressed "profound" apology in a letter to the Mission.

Krishna recalled that Shahrukh was detained earlier also in 2009 and the Indian Consulate General in New York had to intervene to get him out. "We thought that was behind us. But again the same act has been repeated when Shahrukh went there day before yesterday," Krishna said. The Minister said he had asked the Foreign Secretary`s office to summon US Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi to convey displeasure at the way things are getting repeated with reference to important visits.

US Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Lu was summoned by Joint Secretary (Americas) in the External Affairs Ministry Jawed Ashraf yesterday to lodge India`s protest. The US embassy in New Delhi apologised to Shahrukh for any inconvenience and said it would put in place systems that can help address such circumstances. An apology has to be "very serious business", Krishna said.

"When you once tender an apology that is an assurance given to a sovereign government like India that this will not repeat again. In one tone we say that people-to-people relationship between countries must be on the increase and again such hazards, irritants will certainly not help people-to-people movement," the External Affairs Minister underlined.