THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister of state for external affairs V.K. Singh credited ‘quiet’ diplomatic efforts of India for the release of Father Tom Uzhannalil. He added that no ransom was paid. Mr Singh told reporters that “the MEA works quietly without making noise and gets things done. We adopt diplomatic methods. When direct methods do not work, we may go for indirect ones.”
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that Fr Tom spoke to her from Vatican and profusely thanked the Government of India, especially the Prime Minister for efforts to rescue him. He also thanked the governments and people who helped in rescuing him. The Salesian priest has also conveyed his thanks to the people of India for their concern and prayers for his release. When asked if any ransom was paid for the release, Gen. V.K. Singh said 'no'.
Mr Singh also justified denial of permission for Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran's China trip citing protocol issues. Those who were supposed to be met by the minister were of lower ranks and it was a matter of the nation's status also, he said.
"The usual practice is to give clearance for foreign trips of official delegations only after getting the views of the Indian missions of the foreign countries to be visited. In this case also the same procedures were only followed and the clearance was not given as the Indian mission reported protocol issues due to the status of the people the minister was supposed to meet. The matter even involved the nation's status," Mr Singh said.