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MEA rejects media reports which claim Indian spies expelled from Australia for trying to 'steal secrets' 

The statement from MEA came nearly two days after multiple Australian media reports about the alleged expulsion of two Indian spies in 2020 for allegedly trying to “steal secrets” about sensitive defence projects and airport security.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Updated on: May 02, 2024 17:49 IST
MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal
Image Source : INDIA TV MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal

India on Thursday refrained from commenting on an Australian media report which claimed Indian spies were expelled from Australia for trying to 'steal secrets' in 2020. However, the Ministry of External Affairs dubbed the reports as "speculative" and added it does not have any comments to make.

"We really have no comments to make on those reports. We see them as speculative reports and we have no comments to make on them...," MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in a weekly press briefing in New Delhi.

What did Australian media reports claim?

Earlier on April 29, Australian media reported that two Indian spies were suspended in 2020 for allegedly trying to “steal secrets”. The media report alleged the spies were involved in "stealing" information on sensitive defence projects and airport security.

While The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald said two Indian spies were booted out, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which had reported first, did not mention any number. "Indian spies were kicked out of Australia after being caught trying to steal secrets about sensitive defence projects and airport security, as well as classified information on Australia’s trade relationships." the ABC report said.

The so-called foreign “nest of spies” disrupted by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) in 2020 was also accused of closely monitoring Indians living in Australia and developing close relationships with current and former politicians, it said. 

Australian intelligence chief's big claim in 2021

It is worth mentioning in 2021, Australia's intelligence chief said that foreign agents had been operating locally in the previous year. However, at that time he did not reveal their nationality. Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) chief Mike Burgess said a "nest of spies" had developed "targeted relationships with current and former politicians, a foreign embassy and a state police service" throughout 2020, BBC reported.

Later after three years, multiple Australian news outlets reported that they were allegedly from India-- a claim that neither of the media reports backed with any substantial proof. However, when asked Treasurer Jim Chalmers, he downplayed the question and rather maintained a silence. "I don't propose to get into those stories," Treasurer Jim Chalmers told the ABC on Wednesday.

"We have got a good relationship with India... It's an important economic relationship. It's become closer in recent years as a consequence of efforts on both sides." 

As of now, both sides remained mum and it was not expected to balloon unlike the recent diplomatic escalation witnessed between India, and Canada. 

Also Read: 'We're taking it very, very seriously': White House on India's alleged role in assassination plots

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