Archive for the ‘Norway MEA’ Category
Norway custody row helps MEA make pro-people policies.
While the case of the NRI couple seeking custody of their children from Norwegian authorities may have been marred by marital discord, it is contributing in making India’s foreign policy more “people-centric”. Confirming that India has issued fresh instructions to its mission in Norway to provide all possible help to the Bhattacharyas, who seem to have again patched up, MEA sources said that foreign minister S M Krishna will crisscross continents in the next few months to impress upon Indian envoys the need to be “receptive” to Indian nationals and also appoint welfare officers to handle complaints from those who have suffered at the hands of local authorities.
Sources said that the minister will hold a meeting with Indian envoys in West Asia in Abu Dhabi on April 14 and then with those based in Europe in Madrid on April 21, where he will discuss with them the fallout of the Norway case. “The minister will make the point about how Indians missions have to be more pro-Indians in the light of what happened in Norway. He will also ensure that welfare officers are appointed to handle complaints directly from Indians,” said a source.
In June, Krishna will attend another conference of Indian envoys in Argentina, where he will discuss the same issues. Sources confirmed that Krishna had sent a “formal note” earlier this month in which he insisted that welfare officers are appointed by all missions.
The source added that there was no question of backing off from the Norway case despite the criticism in media that MEA had overplayed its hand. It was reported last week that the husband Anurup Bhattacharya was seeking divorce from his wife Sagarika whom he described as mentally unstable.
“The matter will come up for hearing in court only in August, but the Indian Embassy has been asked to provide whatever help the couple seeks for them,” he said, adding that the decision to postpone the visit of a diplomat to Norway last week resulted from the “confusion” over reports about marital discord.
The couple is said to have signed an agreement again last Friday to allow Anurup’s brother Arunabhash to get the custody of the children – Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1).
“The agreement will be presented before the Norwegian Child Welfare Services who will then approach court which will take a decision based on the validity of this document. The Indian government will continue to help them in this exercise,” he added.
Officials said that Krishna’s initiative was a definite attempt to make MEA’s role more public oriented. “The case in Norway has come as a catalyst in that sense. The foreign ministry is preparing to help any Indian family facing any problem abroad,” said an official.