MEA refuses to reveal expenses on Obama visit

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The Hindu May 5, 2015

MEA refuses to reveal expenses on Obama visit

The Ministry of External Affairs has declined to reveal how much money was spent by India on U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to New Delhi in January this year, claiming it was sensitive information and could put under strain relations between the two countries.

In response to an RTI query filed by Mumbai-based freelance journalist Anil Galgali, the Ministry said information seeking details of the money spent on the security of Mr. Obama and his entourage was classified

Mr. Obama, accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama, was in India on a three-day visit in January as chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. Mr. Galgali had sought to know the specifics of the accommodation and security provided to Mr. Obama and his entourage, apart from the expenses incurred on hosting the delegation.

‘Sensitive’

The MEA said the information was not only “sensitive” but also pertains to India’s relations with the U.S. and, therefore, could not be disclosed. The Ministry cited Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act 2005, which allowed information to be withheld if its disclosure could affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence.

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