Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar shot down a bilateral meet at Kiev after Ukraine refused to exempt her and accompanying six MPs from frisking.
Although India enjoys close ties with Ukraine, Kiev could not give any written assurance to New Delhi that Kumar and other MPs would not be subject to security checking.
The tour was finalized almost two months ago but as Ukraine dithered till the last moment over the touchy issue of security checking, Kumar decided at the last moment not to go to Ukraine.
Her husband, Manjul Kumar was also accompanying her for the tour.
Initially, the delegation was slated to tour Belarus and Ukraine from 20- 27 May.
But the delegation returned from Belarus last night.
“Whenever any foreign parliamentary delegation comes to India, we ensure that their members are not subject to checking. This is the courtesy we extend to them and we expect the same for us,” said an official source.
While this is Kumar’s first such decision to call off a tour at the last moment, her predecessor Somnath Chatterjee refused to go to many countries including the US on the same ground as he too, fiercely tried to protect the dignity of parliamentary delegation.
For New Delhi, frisking has been a sensitive matter and even became a major diplomatic issue with Washington when former president APJ Abdul Kalam was frisked at New York’s JFK Airport. US later issued an apology to Kalam. (see graphic)
Sources added that Ukraine reportedly pointed out that a part of Kumar’s tour was out of the official agenda but Lok Sabha secretariat refused to buy this argument.
Kumar, who once faced security check while touring an African nation, had decided to only to those countries where local government can assure security exemption for Indian parliamentary delegations. Kumar was accompanied by BJP, Congress, JD(U), Shiv Sena MPs.