New Delhi, March 20: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday in parliament, 'India placed a higher premium on the safety of its citizens than strategic partnership with the United States, in a rection to attacks against members of Indian diaspora in that country.
Addressing the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj said: “Strategic partnership is secondary. The safety of our people is our top priority.” The minister was responding to concerns flagged by MPs after she made a statement on recent incidents of attacks in the US. The comments were greeted with applause in the House.
On February 22, Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32 working for a GPS-device maker was shot dead by a US national in Kansas while another Indian Alok Madasani was injured in the shooting. On March 2, a US national of Indian origin, Harnish Patel, was shot dead near his house in South Carolina by unknown attackers.
And two days later, another US national of Indian origin was shot near Seattle after being asked to leave the country.
The killings triggered outrage, with people voicing concern that US President Donald Trump’s “America First” position on immigration and jobs has fuelled intolerance in the country.
Swaraj said India would not stay mum over these attacks for the sake of strategic partnership with the US.
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