US Senator John McCain who is in India on a two-day visit has told CNN-IBN that reports of the Bharatiya Janata Party being spied upon by the National Security Agency is embarrassing. Speaking to CNN-IBN, he has also admitted that there is a need for more judicial and Congressional supervision of the US surveillance program. Following is the transcript of an excerpt from the interview:
CNN-IBN: You have come in here at a time when there is a new government in India and the priority of the government seems to be neighbourhood as far as foreign policy is concerned, and there is this look east policy focusing on Japan and China. You have had a series of interactions with some top leaders. What really was the crux of those meetings, what are your expectations as far as the new government is concerned?
John McCain: We have very high expectations as I think the people of India do, this is a very decisive election, we have a very strong leader and we think this is a very opportune time for renewal and re-invigoration of relations between US and India. We understand that the PM's first priority is the domestic situation, getting the economy going again but I am very pleased that he is going to come to Washington DC very soon. I believe that he should attend a joint session of the Congress and he should be given a state dinner. The world is a very dangerous and unsettled place today, it requires the leadership of the world's two largest democracies.
CNN-IBN: You know your trip to India seems to be overshadowed by those documents that were put out by the Washington Post suggesting that there was authorisation to the NSA to snoop into not just 193 countries but also but also in specific BJP which is in power now. How embarrassing is that?
John McCain: It is very embarrassing because we are friends but we know that these things go on, but it seems to me now that the BJP is in power, we do not have to do that anymore, we are friends now and we can speak openly and honestly with each other.
CNN-IBN: You mention that you do not have to do this anymore because the BJP is in power, but was the snooping done then?
John McCain: I don't know, I was not involved obviously as being a member of the Senate, I was not involved in it, but I do know that all kinds of information gathering goes on and whether that goes too far or not, in my view is something that the Congress is supposed to have oversight of. So I will take the responsibility of some of these, overstepping, I would say actions that have angered our friends. But I do know that in all these cases that one thing that we have learnt is that we need a stronger judicial as well as congressional oversight and did things happen that shouldn't have happened. Yes those things happened but for me to point out a specific case and say that should have not happened, I know that the effect of it shouldn't have happened because it has hurt our relations with other countries, not just India.