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Strip-search incident: Armitage apologises

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 14, 2004 15:24 IST
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US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on Wednesday said he was "horrified" by the the incident of strip-searching involving former defence minister George Fernandes during an official visit to the US.

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"On the way in the car here, I had the opportunity to telephone my old friend George Fernandes and told him I had heard about the problem he had. I was horrified about it and I personally apologised to him," Armitage told reporters after he met Leader of the Opposition Lal Kishenchand Advani.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott in his just published book has said Fernandes was strip-searched twice at Dulles airport when he was defence minister -- once on an official visit to Washington in early 2002 and another time while enroute to Brazil in mid 2003.

The US Embassy in Delhi said Fernandes was not strip-searched but a security wand was waved over him when a key in his pocket set off the metal detector.

"Fernandes played an important role in the burgeoning US-India relationship and we consider him the cherished friend
of the US," an embassy spokesman said.

Fernandes, who confirmed reports that he was searched, has said he will never visit the US again.


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