India on Tuesday rejected fugitive Edward Snowden’s request for political asylum, in what seems to be a cautious move to stay out of a diplomatic storm.
The Foreign Office in New Delhi confirmed receiving a communication requesting asylum from Snowden from its embassy in Moscow.
“We have carefully examined the request. Following that examination we have concluded that we see no reason to accede to the request,” foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.
Snowden had submitted asylum requests to 21 nations including Poland and Brazil, which turned down his application, according to WikiLeaks legal advisor Sarah Harisson. At least six other countries reportedly found technical grounds not to grant him asylum.
Snowden has been holed up and in legal limbo in a Moscow airport for more than a week, reports AFP.
He had abandoned his bid to stay in Russia after President Vladimir Putin demanded he stop leaking intelligence reports, the Kremlin said Tuesday.
President Barack Obama had warned countries not give asylum to Snowden arguing that he is wanted in the US on charges of espionage and leaking classified information.
Washington said Snowden, whose passport has been revoked, would be given fair trial and enjoys all rights of a US citizen.
“We’re prepared to issue one-entry travel documents. He’s still a US citizen. He still enjoys the rights of his US citizenship, which include the right to a free and fair trial for the crimes he’s been accused of,” State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell told reporters.
India also defended the US surveillance programs, The Times of India reports.
“Some of the information they got out of their scrutiny, they were able to use it to prevent serious terrorist attacks in several countries,” said Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, who is in Brunei for a summit with ASEAN.