This emerged after marathon talks between visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, the highest-ranking dignitary to visit India since the installation of the Modi government, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The two sides had wide-range of key issues like trade, defence and energy.
At a joint press conference tonight, Swaraj was asked if she had raised the issue of surveillance of BJP leaders in 2010 by the US National Security Agency (NSA), as was made public recently on the basis of revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Swaraj replied, "I raised this issue with Secretary Kerry. I told them that when this news appeared in Indian papers, Indians were agitated and they had expressed their anger too. Main ussi rosh se apko awgat karana chahati hoon (I want to make you aware of that anger). I even told him that both countries consider each other as friendly nations and it will not be acceptable to us from any angle if one friendly country spies on another friendly country. This is unacceptable to us."
However, Kerry defended US snooping, saying, "We value our relationship with India, our bilateral relationship...we also value sharing of information between each other regarding counter-terrorism and other threats to both of our countries. Usually, we try to have our intelligence communities work to resolve any questions or differences that may exist.”
"We will continue to work actively with India wherever we see a threat to our shared interest and we fully respect and understand the feelings expressed by the Minister," Kerry said.

He also maintained that US has a policy that it does not discuss intelligence matters in public. However, he added that America had conversations as the Minister has stated with government officials about surveillance reports.


India terms US surveillance of Indian political leaders ‘unacceptable’
Swaraj holds discussion with Kerry on trade, defence and energy
India, US consider each other as friendly nations
US policy does not discuss intelligence matters in public
Swaraj also raised issue of US immigration bill pending before Senate
US immigration bill limit the mobility of Indian IT professionals to US
Passage of US immigration bill will give negative message, says India
India's stand on food security at WTO figured in Swaraj-Kerry meet
10 million Indians entering the work force each year Kerry said
Both countries will pave way for Modi's visit to US in September

Swaraj also raised the issue of US immigration bill pending before the Senate which may limit the mobility of Indian IT professionals to US.
The minister said that she has conveyed to Kerry that if passed, it will send a "negative signal" to professionals here when India is opening up and added that her ministerial colleague Nirmala Sitharaman has also raised the issue.
Another issue which was discussed in detail was India's stand on food security at WTO.
On trade-related issues, Kerry said that there was a lot of work yet to done in breaking down trade barriers and to limit obstacles including tariffs, price controls, preferential treatment to certain products in large influential markets.
"We can build a more competitive market as well as build the bridges of opportunities that our young people in both the countries want so much. With 10 million Indians entering the work force each year, the Indian government clearly understands this imperative," Kerry said.
Kerry and Swaraj also discussed initiatives in various key areas as part of the agenda for the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama in September in Washington.
"In weeks to come, we will take series of steps to pave the way for PM Narendra Modi's visit to US in September," Kerry, who will call on Modi on Friday, said and noted that the moment has never been "more ripe" to deliver on incredible possibilities of relationship between the two nations.     

"Now that India's new government has won a historic mandate to deliver change and reform, together we have a singular opportunity to help India, to meet the challenge, to boost two-way trade, to support South Asia's connectivity, to develop cleaner energy, to deepen our security partnership in Asia Pacific," the visiting leader said.

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