My friend Kapil Sharma, formerly of Washington DC and since 2006-07 a Mumbai resident in good standing, has a suggestion for the government of India that is currently looking for “issues” to “take up strongly”:
My point is that visiting foreigners to India may not be officially “detained,” but do face “shake down” treatment when it comes to paying customs and duties. We experienced this when coming to Mumbai, when they accused my wife of being a gold smuggler at 3am with a crying 2 year old. Funny though, I bet you the GOI couldn’t tell you how long we were detained.
Before the GOI goes around criticizing how other governments conduct their security and customs procedures, they should make sure that their own system is functional and error free. At least the US system has some form of transparency.
Not suggesting that the documented problems at Indian airports should be a reason for the government not to take up issues relating to how Indian nationals are treated in airports around the world — but the breast-beating over SRK being detained at Newark, and the ill-considered [and syntax-challenged] reactions of some at least in the government leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Then again, this is Ambika Soni after all — a ‘politician’ who opens her mouth only to remove the foot that was previously in it so she can stick the other one in.