The US needs to observe protocol in treating Indian dignitaries visiting that country, external affairs minister SM Krishna said in Bangalore in the wake of American security agencies frisking former president APJ Abdul Kalam on board an aircraft.
"The US government has to take into account certain protocols when dealing with our distinguished dignitaries visiting America," a miffed Krishna said late Sunday after India protested the Kalam episode.
"We have to evolve a mechanism to ensure visiting dignitaries, especially of Kalam's stature, are respected and treated fairly when they go to the US. Those looking after security aspects have to be sensitised on how to handle the situation," Krishna said.
He was speaking on the margins of a function in connection with the upcoming 11th meeting of the council of ministers of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).
Terming the frisking of Kalam inside an aircraft Sep 29 as unfortunate and unacceptable, Krishna said though the US government had subsequently apologised for the incident, the issue was being taken up at a higher level in the US administration.
"I have asked our envoy to the US (Nirupama Rao) to take up the issue very strongly with them at the highest level and convey that whatever had happened to Kalam was not acceptable. They must take measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents," Krishna asserted.
Asked if India was contemplating retaliatory action against US dignitaries, Krishna said there was no such move yet, as the US security official had already apologised to Kalam in writing and expressed deep regrets to the ministry.
US Charge d' Affairs Peter Burleigh personally delivered the letter from the US Transportation Security Administration to Kalam in New Delhi recently.
The incident happened at the JFK airport in New York when US security personnel asked the Air India staff to hand over Kalam's jacket and shoes as they were not checked before the latter entered the aircraft.
"The US authorities have explained to us that under the existing regulation, the former president Abdul Kalam does not fall into the category of persons exempt from security screening," the ministry said in the statement.
This was the second time the former president, a distinguished scientist, was subjected to such inconvenience in the US after a similar incident in 2009.