No objection conveyed to Australian Dy high commissioner to meet Bengal govt officials at appropriate level: Govt sources | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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No objection conveyed to Australian Dy high commissioner to meet Bengal govt officials at appropriate level: Govt sources

PTI |
Jun 19, 2024 08:14 PM IST

No objection conveyed to Australian Dy high commissioner to meet Bengal govt officials at appropriate level: Govt sources

New Delhi, Australian deputy envoy Nicholas McCaffrey was conveyed a "no objection" to meet officials in the West Bengal government at an "appropriate" level, official sources said on Wednesday after the Trinamool Congress accused the Centre of rejecting his request to meet three ministers in the Mamata Banerjee dispensation.

No objection conveyed to Australian Dy high commissioner to meet Bengal govt officials at appropriate level: Govt sources
No objection conveyed to Australian Dy high commissioner to meet Bengal govt officials at appropriate level: Govt sources

"A no objection was conveyed to the Australian deputy high commissioner based on the principle of reciprocity for meeting officials of the West Bengal government at an appropriate level," a source said.

The clarification came after Trinamool Congress MPs Saket Gokhale and Sagarika Ghose accused the NDA government of not allowing the Australian deputy envoy to meet the ministers in the West Bengal government.

Gokhale and Ghose also alleged that the Centre is creating hindrance in West Bengal getting foreign investment.

McCaffrey sought the meetings ahead of his planned visit to West Bengal.

People aware of diplomatic protocols and norms said a deputy high commissioner or a deputy chief of a foreign mission is junior to ministers in state governments and that is why the meetings sought by the diplomat were not in sync with laid down norms.

Similar yardsticks are followed for Indian diplomats in Australia as well, they explained.

When asked about the issue, a spokesperson for the Australian High Commission did not comment on it but said Australia and India are close friends with strong strategic, economic and community ties.

"Australian diplomats travel regularly across India to continue strengthening the political, business, cultural and sporting linkages between our two countries," the official said.

"We don't comment on the specific details of programs when our officials travel."

At a press conference, Gokhale said the Oceania division of the Ministry of External Affairs recommended against McCaffrey meeting West Bengal Industry and Commerce Minister Shashi Panja, IT Minister Babul Supriyo, and Agriculture Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay.

"The government of West Bengal received communication from the Australian High Commission that the deputy high commissioner would be visiting West Bengal and he had sought meetings with three ministers in the government of West Bengal," Gokhale said.

Following this, a communication came from the Oceania division of the Ministry of External Affairs that it does not recommend that the Australian deputy high commissioner meet up with the ministers, he said.

TMC Rajya Sabha member Ghose also targeted the Centre on the matter and said the manner in which the meetings were denied puts a question mark on the federal structure of the country.

"It is extremely shocking and autocratic to send out a recommendation through the Ministry of External Affairs," she said.

"This is an assault on the federal structure," Ghose alleged.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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