India steps up pressure on Norway for release of NRI children

S M Krishna

India today stepped up pressure on Norway for the release of two children of an NRI couple but the Norwegian government has refused to give any time frame for it.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna spoke to his Norwegian counterpart and summoned their Charge d'Affairs Aslak Brun to reiterate India's concerns over the Norwegian Childcare Services taking away the two children from their natural parents. The children have been put under foster care.

"Given the children's age, taking away the children from their natural parents till they are 18 is an extreme step which should normally be a last resort. The circumstances as known to the Indian government do not appear to justify such measures in the present case," Krishna told reporters.

He said he has requested the Norwegian government to find an "amicable and urgent solution" in the matter. He also said CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat has also talked to him regarding the issue.

However, the minister did admit that there was a "problem" since the matter was before a Norway court and the Norwegian judicial system was seized of the matter. It has to be settled through the Indian mission and other stakeholders.

After his meeting with Krishna, Brun said, "We have a very close and good dialogue and both governments have the best interest of the children at heart.

"Through this constructive and close dialogue, we are very hopeful we will be able to have a settlement that is both acceptable within the Norwegian legal system and also by Indian government." He, however, parried questions on the time frame.

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