Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for India

Newsline: India court jails ex-diplomat for spying for Pakistan

An Indian diplomat convicted of passing state secrets to Pakistan’s intelligence services has been jailed for three years, her lawyer said on Sunday. Madhuri Gupta was found guilty in a New Delhi court on Friday of “spying and wrongful communication of information” while posted to the Indian embassy in Islamabad. Gupta, 61, was arrested in 2010 for allegedly passing information to the spy agency. The low-level diplomat was detained for alleged breaches of India’s official secrets act and held for two years before being released on bail. Her lawyer, Joginder Dahiya, said Gupta would appeal her sentencing in a higher court.



Newsline: Blast near Indian Embassy field office in Nepal

A pressure cooker bomb went off near the Indian Embassy field office in Nepal’s Biratnagar damaging the walls of the premises, Nepal Police has said. No one has claimed responsibility. The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu has not made any remarks regarding the blast yet. It is suspected that a splinter group of Maoist-led by Netra Bikram Chand could be responsible for the blast due to its anti-Indian rhetoric in the past. According to the Superintendent of Police of Morang district, Arun Kumar BC, the blast occurred close to the office that India, he said, was operating without permission of the Nepal government.


Newsline: Pakistani diplomat placed on wanted list by India for plotting attacks against Israeli and US embassies

India’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA) placed Pakistani diplomat Amir Zubair Siddiqui on ‘wanted’ list claiming that he was planning to “carry out terrorist attacks”. The Indian intelligence agency claimed that Siddiqui, who served as a visa counsellor at Pakistani Embassy in Colombo, “planned to carry out 2009 Mumbai-like attacks on Israeli and American embassies in India.” Two other individuals, whose identities were not revealed but were claimed to be from Pakistan, were also placed on the ‘most wanted list’ along with Siddiqui. It was further claimed that Amir “had tasked the local terror outfits to carry out attacks in Sri Lanka”. NIA also claimed to have arrested the leader of the group that was tasked by Siddiqui and that “he revealed during interrogation that he was told to attack the Israeli and US embassies”. The Indian agency has also claimed to have contacted the Interpol over the matter.


Newsline: US senator probes if embassy officials helped Trump Jr. on speech for India trip

In response to a query by a U.S. senator, the embassy in New Delhi said Thursday that its staff did not advise or assist Donald Trump Jr. on a foreign policy address he is set to give Friday while on a private business trip to India. The embassy was responding to questions about a letter released Wednesday by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) to the U.S. ambassador in India raising concerns about the embassy’s engagement with Trump, who is in India for the week to promote various Trump real estate projects around the country. The embassy only provided routine support to his Secret Service detail, it said. The president’s eldest son is set to give a foreign policy speech at a global business summit in New Delhi on Friday titled “Reshaping Indo-Pacific Ties: The New Era of Cooperation” alongside India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and other high-ranking Indian government officials.


Newsline: “Chauffeur-Cum-Messenger” At The Indian Consulate In Australia Was Underpaid By Thousands Of Dollars

The case of a former “chauffeur-cum-messenger” for the Indian Consulate who was underpaid thousands of dollars and ruled ineligible for the relevant workplace award highlights a significant gap in Australia’s industrial laws, lawyers say. The decision has prompted calls for legislative change to ensure workers at foreign consulates and embassies in Australia have access to workplace protections beyond the bare minimum standards in the Fair Work Act. Hitender Kumar, an Australian citizen, worked at the Indian Consulate from February 2010 to March 2015, with the job title chauffeur-cum-messenger. His work involved both driving and administrative tasks. Kumar took his former employer to court, alleging he had been underpaid according to the Clerks Private Sector Award 2010, and the national minimum wage standards. But in a decision handed down on February 13, Federal Circuit Court judge Ross Driver dismissed the application, ruling that Kumar could not be covered by the award because working for a foreign consulate is not a private sector job.


Newsline: Audits on ‘higher fraud-risk’ Canadian embassies find undocumented payments

The audits in Nigeria, Algeria, Russia, India and Kenya were ordered after a probe found Canada’s embassy in Haiti was defrauded of $1.7M over 12 years. Audits of five Canadian embassies operating in “higher fraud-risk environments” have found cases of questionable procurement practices, undocumented payments for work, and sky-high levels of overtime for drivers. The audits were ordered after a 2016 investigation discovered that Canada’s embassy in Haiti was defrauded of $1.7 million over 12 years through inflated supply contracts and diverted materials. The government fired 17 locally recruited employees over the case. Management audits were conducted on Canadian embassies in Nigeria, Algeria, Russia, India and Kenya, as well as on Canada’s embassy in South Korea as a low-risk environment for comparison purposes. The audit on the Nigeria embassy was the most damning, concluding that protocols around “finance, procurement, contracting, revenues, and asset management were not consistently followed and some key controls were not in place or were circumvented.” Several dubious payments were found, including one case where the contract was signed after the work had already commenced, another where the overtime was paid at a higher rate than in the contract, and another where the value of the contract was “significantly exceeded without a contract amendment.”

Audits on ‘higher fraud-risk’ Canadian embassies find undocumented payments, ballooning overtime costs

Newsline: Costa Rica Ambassador Moves To Bengaluru To Save Herself From ‘Toxic’ Delhi Air

While the pollution level in the national capital continues to remain ‘extremely unhealthy’ forcing many to leave the city, the Costa Rican ambassador to India, Mariela Cruz Alvarez, has moved to Bengaluru after developing respiratory illness. She recently took to Facebook to call her stay in Delhi the ‘worst experience’ of her life. “My experience of filthy air in Delhi is the worst experience I have ever had in my life. My lungs hurt, can’t breathe well. Feverish and fatigued. This is no fun and 20 millions of people are breathing that poison now up north, including some dear friends. The basic right to clean air is a Human Right. The Indian government needs to make radical decisions here in India NOW. Leadership is about taking care of the people.That is #1 priority,” Alvarez wrote.