Snowden has not sought asylum in India: Salman Khurshid

Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei), July 2 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said that he was not aware of American whistle-blower Edward Snowden seeking refuge, and added that India was not an open house for asylum seekers.

Khurshid said he wouldn't want to comment on hearsay as India had a very careful and restricted policy on those seeking asylum.

"I am here. I have no knowledge that he has. I wouldn't want to comment on something that may be just hearsay because India has a very careful and restricted policy on asylums. We have given asylums in the past but we are not an open house for asylums. It is careful and very objective policy," Khurshid said on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting here.

" So, when and if somebody applies, all that is actually looked at, before we can give a response. But I have not yet seen anything myself," he added.

Snowden faces espionage charges in the United States and is believed to be staying in a transit area at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

WikiLeaks released statement saying Snowden was asking for asylum in several countries, including Russia, China, Brazil, India and Ireland.

Snowden, 30, broke his silence on Monday for the first time since fleeing to Moscow over a week ago, blasting the Obama administration and saying he remained free to make new disclosures about U.S. spying activity.

Earlier, UK's Guardian newspaper had reported that the United States had also spied on non-European allies, including Japan, South Korea and India - all represented at the Asian security conference.

Revelations about the U.S. surveillance program, which was made public by Snowden, have raised a furor in the United States and abroad over the balance between privacy rights and national security.

Khurshid downplayed the allegations, saying it was done to prevent militant attacks in the US and India had no issue with it.

"We had an issue which we discussed when Secretary Kerry was in the country-in India. We discussed that issue and he made a very clear explanation that no content has been sought or received of any e-mails," said Khurshid.

"What has been done is a computer analysis of patterns of communications and he explained and I believe the President of the United States also said some of the information had prevented terrorist attacks," he added.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who was in India recently, said the United States was not alone in using 'lots of activities' to safeguard its security.

Khurshid said, 'we are already in dialogue with them on cyber security and on counter terrorism measures'.

"So, I think at least as far as we are concerned, there is no issue today," he added.

The revelations have caused massive uproar in Europe, especially Germany, which has called it a breach of trust between friends. (ANI)