Indian mission confirms ’serious lapse’ in Narayanan’s security

August 6th, 2008 - 4:27 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, Aug 6 (IANS) The Indian high commission confirmed Wednesday that there was a serious security lapse that left National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan without his official car to return to his hotel from the SAARC summit venue here Aug 3. According to media reports, Narayanan then hopped into a taxi with a Taj Samudra logo and travelled without any security cover to the hotel where the Indian delegation was staying.

The issue briefly came up for discussion in parliament Tuesday where defence spokesman and minister Keheliya Rambukwella reportedly stated that “security was ensured for the SAARC summit to such an extent that Narayanan could go back to the hotel in a taxi”.

Commenting for the first time on the issue, the Indian mission said in a statement Wednesday that its attention had been drawn to media reports regarding what happened to Narayanan during the two-day SAARC summit that ended Aug 3.

“This High Commission wishes to state that there was a serious lapse in that some of the arrangements discussed and agreed to in advance did not get implemented on the ground. The matter was immediately discussed with Sri Lankan security authorities and remedial measures taken jointly,” the mission said.

“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,” it added.

According to Sri Lankan media reports, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also faced a similar situation when a Sri Lankan security officer attached to his convoy went missing, causing embarrassing moments to both the hosts and the Indians.

The reports said that when Manmohan Singh ended his bilateral talks with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday, it was found out that a senior superintendent of police attached to the Special Task Force (STF) and assigned to the Indian leader had gone missing.

This resulted in a member of the Indian Special Protection Group (SPG) jumping into Manmohan Singh’s car to take the place of the STF officer and proceed to the hotel.

The Indian High Commission neither confirmed nor rejected this incident.

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