Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran Barred From China Visit

Thiruvananthapuram: The Center on Wednesday justified the denial of permission to a Kerala tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran to attend a meet in China, indicating that proper protocol arrangements had not been made for him there.

The sole criteria was to ensure that people from the country were not "downgraded" in the country they were visiting, minister of state for external affairs V K Singh told reporters here.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had termed as "unfortunate" the decision of Ministry of External Affairs denying permission to Surendran, who was invited to attend the United Nations World Tourism Organisation meet in Chengdu held between September 11-16.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 3rd outreach program on issues connected with migration, Singh explained the process of according political clearance for such visits and said the MEA seeks views of the Indian mission in that country.

"If we find correct protocol arrangements are not being made and relevant person of that level is not meeting our minister, we will not allow our minister to go," he said.

"We are conscious that we do not want our people to be downgraded in the country in which they are visiting and that is the sole criteria," Singh added.

Since the prestige of the country was also at stake, he said it would not look good "if a junior official is meeting a minister."

On various steps taken by MEA under its program "Surakshit Jaaye and Prashikshit Jaaye" (Be skilled and secure while going abroad), Singh said a mechanism had been put in place to ensure the safety of people who were working in different countries.

Earlier speaking at the 'Outreach program', he said one of the major concerns was issues connected with illegal migrants.

In this regard, he wanted the states to put in place suitable measures that can stop illegal migration as a lot of unscrupulous recruiters exploit the overseas job seekers.

"This is something on which we want to work together with the states to see that illegal migration is stopped," he said.

Vijayan, who inaugurated the event, wanted the Center to take more steps to ensure the safety of migrants working in foreign countries.

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