Several envoys complained, but US embassy rallies behind PM Modi on demonetisation

Verma said that the demonetisation decision has not impacted the Indo-US bilateral ties in any way

Much was being said about embassies in India having been facing the hit due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation announcement. Slamming the PM for the move, the Russian ambassador to India had in a strongly-worded letter said that the withdrawal limit is not even enough to have a decent dinner in a restaurant.

However, the US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Wednesday backed the Central government’s demonetisation policy. He said that the decision has not in any way impacted the Indo-US bilateral ties.

“We understand what the PM was trying to do in cracking down on corruption, we also understand it had a hardship on people. We have a lot of locally employed staff in our embassies and consulates and we have been trying to help,” he said.

He also added that steps need to be taken to end cross-border terrorism. “Strongly condemn cross-border terrorism, it needs to end and perpetrators need to be held accountable. Our security relationship with Pakistan is complex. It’s focused on counter-terrorism but our relationship with India is far broader,” he added.

To avoid inconvenience to mission staff, some bank branches have been assigned only for transactions by diplomats. However, foreign diplomats claim that they need a solution to the ceiling on cash withdrawal that has been placed by the government and the Reserve Bank of India.

The Ministry of External Affairs has assured the embassies that they are working to find a solution to the problem.