Safety of Indians a priority over partnership with the US: Sushma Swaraj tells Rajya Sabha

The external affairs minister told the Upper House that the attacks on Indians in the US were ‘100% incidents of hate crimes’.

The Centre on Monday said that the recent attacks on Indians in the United States were certainly hate crimes, adding that national interest held greater priority than strategic partnership. Pitching for a close investigation into the cases, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Rajya Sabha, “We do not treat these incidents as a matter of law and order. It is not as simple as that. From our side, we say that these are 100% incidents of hate crimes,” PTI reported.

In the past two months, there were three such cases of attacks on Indians in the US – on February 22, engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead by a US national in Kansas City. A few days later, Harnish Patel, a US citizen of Indian origin, was found dead outside his house in South Carolina, and on March 4, Deep Rai – another US national of Indian origin – was shot in the arm by an unknown assailant in suburban Seattle.

Swaraj said the government was monitoring these incidents to ascertain “whether there was any trend being set”. She added that the US administration under President Donald Trump had told the Centre these were stray incidents. “US authorities have assured us that they are working with all concerned agencies to ensure speedy justice.”

On March 1, the White House had condemned Kuchibhotla’s murder and said that it was an “act of racially motivated hatred”.

The external affairs minister also assured the Upper House that India’s strategic partnership with the US will not deter the government from raising these attacks at the highest level. “Do not think that we will remain silent because of our strategic partnership. That is secondary. The security and safety of our nationals comes first,” Swaraj said.

Her assurance came after Communist Party of India leader D Raja expressed his apprehensions. “Ever since the change in government in the US, people of Indian origin and people of India have been living there with great sense of fear and insecurity. We have a strategic partnership with the US, and that should not prevent us from raising our independent voice,” he said.

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

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Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.


Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.