The Congress on Thursday denied that External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee was frisked at the Moscow airport during his recent trip to Russia and claimed that he was extended all diplomatic courtesies.
"He was not frisked. There was a little confusion. Protocol was just behind him. All diplomatic courtesies were extended to him," AICC's media department chairman Veerappa Moily told reporters. Reacting to questions, he said, "He was not frisked as in the case of George Fernandes," referring to the body search conducted on the NDA defence minister when he went to the US.
Moily also sought to put the record straight on reports that the Russians had snubbed Mukherjee. According to him, the scheduled interaction between the Union Minister and his Russian counterpart did not materialise because President V Putin was going to Iran and Sergei Lavrov was busy meeting US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. "There is no dishonour. Diplomatic relations are still intact," Moily said, adding that India and Russia are natural allies enjoying excellent relations.
Earlier in the day, the BJP had demanded an explanation from the government on the issue. "The question arises whether Russia is upset ...or the Ministry of External Affairs did not make proper arrangements...," said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.