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SAARC security lapse: Steps not implemented, says India

August 06, 2008 19:52 IST

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Taking note of a serious lapse in security for National Security Adviser M K Narayanan during the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit in Colombo, India on Wednesday said some of the arrangements discussed in advance for providing protection to the top leaders did not get implemented.

'The attention of this high commission has been drawn to various media reports regarding the security cover to M K Narayanan, National Security Adviser, during the recently concluded 15th SAARC Summit,' the Indian mission in Colombo said in a statement.

The high commission said the matter was immediately discussed with Sri Lankan security authorities and remedial measures taken jointly.

'It is not the practice of this high commission to comment on security issues in detail. Sri Lankan security authorities have apologised to Narayanan. We now consider this matter closed,' the statement said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told parliament on Tuesday that only a few Indian security personnel accompanied Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] during his visit to Colombo for the SAARC summit.

"Only a limited number of security personnel accompanied him which is usual when he goes overseas," the minister said.The foreign minister made this statement in response to a question by opposition member of parliament Ravi Karunanayake who wanted to know the number of security personnel that accompanied the Indian leader.

Bogollagama said any state leader is accompanied by a limited number of security officers when they visit overseas and the Indian prime minister also had his normal security detail.

Leader of the House and minister for healthcare and nutrition, Nimal Siripala de Silva, also told the House that he had earlier denied reports in parliament that 3,000 Indian soldiers would arrive in Sri Lanka [Images] to provide security for Singh. "If such a massive number of Indian soldiers had arrived it would have been prominent," de Silva said.

The Island newspaper, quoting informed sources, claimed Narayanan had travelled with Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon in the latter's motorcade, jointly escorted by Sri Lankan and Indian security services, to the venue of the SAARC summit in Colombo.

'Menon's motorcade had left without Narayanan who arrived at the main entrance to the conference hall after the sessions were over,' the newspaper quoted sources as saying. 'During high-level discussions between Sri Lankan and Indian security services to work out the entire range of security issues including motorcades, they hadn't allocated a specific vehicle for Narayanan,' the paper claimed.

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