Fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden submitted requests to 21 nations including India, Russia, China and Brazil as well as his preferred destinations Ecuador and Iceland.—AFP Photo
NEW DELHI: India said Tuesday that it had refused an asylum request from fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, joining Poland in publicly rebuffing him as he seeks an exit from a Moscow airport.
“Our embassy in Moscow did receive a communication dated 30 June from Mr Edward Snowden. That communication did contain a request for asylum,” foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told AFP.
“We have carefully examined the request. Following that examination we have concluded that we see no reason to accede to the request,” he added.
Transparency campaign group Wikileaks said Monday that Snowden had submitted asylum requests to 21 nations including India, Russia, China and Brazil as well as his preferred destinations Ecuador and Iceland.
The Kremlin announced Tuesday that he had abandoned his bid to stay in Russia after learning of demands from President Putin that he stop leaking intelligence reports.
Snowden, whose passport has been revoked by the US, has been holed up and in legal limbo in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport for more than a week trying to find a safe haven.
Elsewhere in Asia, a spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry Hua Chunying said Beijing had been “following the developments” but declined to comment further.
“I've seen some reports of his petition for political asylum in some countries but I have no information about that,” Hua said.
The US wants Snowden, who has leaked information about the National Security Agency's vast Internet and phone surveillance programmes, extradited so he can be put on trial.
India, which has moved closer to the United States since signing a landmark nuclear power pact in 2008, has also defended Washington's surveillance programmes.
“Some of the information they got out of their scrutiny, they were able to use it to prevent serious terrorist attacks in several countries,” Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters in Brunei in a broadcast interview.
“This is not scrutiny and access to actual messages. It is only computer analysis of patterns of calls and emails that are being sent... it is not actually snooping on the content of anyone's messages or conversations,” he added.
Norway, Austria and Poland were among the first to confirm they had received asylum requests from Snowden. Warsaw immediately rejected the request.