How White House press secretary bullied Indian officials

November 9th, 2010 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) Forced by bullying tactics of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, Indian security officials had no choice but to allow nine American mediapersons to cover the delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama Monday instead of the five that was agreed upon by both sides.

India’s external affairs ministry has denied media reports alleging the mistreatment of some mediapersons who accompanied Obama on his four-day visit to India that ended Tuesday, saying they were extended all courtesies and unprecedented access to all venues for coverage.

“We have extended all possible courtesies and unprecedented access to our media friends in the US,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters.

Fox News reported that Gibbs threatened to pull Obama from a meeting with Manmohan Singh Monday when Indian security attempted to restrict the number of US mediapersons allowed for photo-op that preceeded it.

The report said that it was arranged beforehand that eight mediapersons from the White House press pool would be admitted to the photo-op at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, but Indian officials tried to reduce the number to five just before the event.

Indian officials, however, rebutted this version, saying it was agreed to accommodate five mediapersons from each side for the delegation-level talks.

However, informed sources, who did not wish to be named, added that Gibbs intimidated security personnel at Hyderabad House and forced his way inside the venue of the the delegation-level talks, along with four more Americans mediapersons.

Eventually, nine American and five Indian mediapersons managed to get inside the room to cover the opening of the delegation-level talks.

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