New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) The External Affairs Ministry on Thursday said that it had informed Lord Alexander Carlile, the British MP and member of former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s legal team, in advance that he would be denied entry into India.
Briefing the media here, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that Lord Carlile held a business visa whereas his intention was to hold a press conference.
“He did not have an appropriate visa and there was a discrepancy in his visa application form and the purpose for which he wanted to visit India,” Kumar said.
“We informed him in advance that your visa is not valid. So, he came with a return boarding pass.”
According to Kumar, Lord Carlile’s return boarding pass was for a British Airways that was to depart two hours after he landed here.
On Wednesday night soon after the incident, the spokesperson said that Lord Carlile’s “intended activity in India was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application”.
“It was therefore decided to deny him entry into India upon arrival.”
Lord Carlile was scheduled to address the media in New Delhi on Thursday.
According to the Dhaka Tribune, he wanted to “explain the complexities of Khaleda Zia’s case to the international media community”.
A high-profile lawyer who held several judicial roles, Lord Carlile was taken into Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia’s legal team in March.
Khaleda has several criminal cases filed against her that the BNP claims are part of a plot to keep her and her family out of politics.
She was convicted in the first case in February. She was sentenced to five years for stealing $ 253,000 in foreign donations received by an orphanage trust set up when she was last prime minister, from 2001 to 2006.
Stating that the motivation of Lord Carlile’s visit to India was suspect, Kumar said: “Now, the only thing that I can figure out is that, one, he was trying to create some kind of a problem between India and Bangladesh, our relationship. And second is also to create some sort of a misunderstanding between India and the opposition party in Bangladesh.”
That India’s engagement with the opposition parties in Bangladesh is very clear can be seen from the fact that whenever Indian dignitaries visit the eastern neighbour, meetings are also held with these parties, Kumar said.
“When the Prime Minister visits, we do have meetings with them. When the External Affairs Minister visits, again we have the same set of meetings. We do engage with all the sections of the Bangladeshi political spectrum.”
Kumar said that if Lord Carlile had to say something he could have done so from London instead of from Indian soil.
“If he is coming to India, he has to respect the laws of the land. And that is true for any other country,” he said.
“If we visit a country, we should have an appropriate visa and we should go for the intention which we have declared in the application form.”
Stating that the right to grant visa is the sole prerogative of the country concerned, the spokesperson said that applying for a visa does not necessarily mean that a person will get it.
“Does a business visa constitute coming here and addressing a press conference,” Kumar asked.