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India summons top US diplomat over spying row

New Delhi, July 2(PTI): India on Wednesday summoned a top US diplomat here after reports in The Washington Post that the country’s National Security Agency (NSA) had sought permission to spy on the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The government said it was “totally unacceptable” that an Indian organisation or Indian individual's privacy was transgressed upon. It also sought an assurance from the US that it will not happen again.

However, officials did not say which US diplomat was summoned by the external affairs ministry. The US currently has an interim ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, who came in after Nancy Powell resigned from her post.

India also noted that earlier, when reports emerged that the NSA had spied upon individuals and entities, it had raised the issue with the US administration in Washington and the Embassy here in July and November last year. But it was still “awaiting a response from American on this”.

India had reacted sharply when the reports of snooping by NSA came to light after revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year.

BJP figures in the list of foreign political parties along with Lebanon's Amal, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and the Pakistan Peoples Party on whom the NSA was given permission to carry out surveillance, says the document made public on Monday by The Washington Post.

The document lists the 193 foreign governments as well as foreign factions and other entities that were part of a 2010 certification approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The list includes India.

”These are the entities about which the NSA may conduct surveillance for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence,” the paper had said, citing documents provided to it by Snowden.