US to press India to join Hague Convention on child abductionindia Updated: Sep 14, 2017 19:38 IST
The US will press India to join the Hague Convention dealing with inter-parental child abduction, a senior US official said on Thursday, asserting that the second highest number of such cases in America involved Indian families.
The issue will be the focus of the upcoming Indo-US bilateral consular duologue scheduled to be held in Washington on September 27, where officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and Women and Child Development Ministry among others will represent India.
With 94 reported cases, India is placed second after Mexico when it comes to children being forced to return to the country by a parent in cases of marital discord, The official said, adding that the number is “rising”.
“We are hoping India would accede to the convention, of which the US is among the 96 signatories. We want the laws of the country where the child resides to prevail,” the official said.
The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980), signed by 96 countries, provides for a mechanism to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another.
The US’ position assumes significance as New Delhi has made it clear that it will not join the convention in its current form, arguing that it would mandate the government to send back women, who have escaped bad marriages abroad and brought their child along with them to India, to the country of their husbands’ residence.
When asked the reason behind US’ insistence, the official said such cases have grown in the recent years, with Punjab topping the charts among the Indian states.
According to a Women and Child Development ministry official, India is deliberating on proposing caveats to the convention to make it more suitable to the local situation.
Labour laws will also figure in the talks, the official said, when queried about the 2013 case involving Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragde, who was charged with visa fraud involving her maid.
The incident had triggered a diplomatic row between the two nations.