Demonetisation is taking a toll on Indian diplomacy, with Russia lodging a strong protest over cash shortage affecting the functioning of its embassy in Delhi and threatening retaliatory action.
Pressing the External Affairs Ministry to intervene to get restrictions on cash withdrawals by Russian diplomats lifted, its Ambassador Alexander Kadakin has written to it saying embassy’s normal functioning was getting impacted with the “inadequate” amount limit of Rs 50,000 per week.
State Bank of India has informed the Embassy that the cash withdrawal limit available to the Embassy is now Rs 50,000 per week under the government of India directives with no exceptions unless otherwise advised by the RBI, his letter said.
“Such an amount is totally inadequate as regards the embassy’s salary and operational expenditure requirements,” the letter added.
“We are awaiting a reply from the MEA and hope that this is resolved quickly. Otherwise, we will be forced to explore other options which may include raising the issue in Moscow with your Embassy by summoning Indian Minister Counsellor,” a senior Russian embassy official said in Delhi.
Other retaliatory options may include restriction on the cash withdrawals for Indian diplomats posted in Russia, the official indicated.
Sources said MEA has “taken note” of the concerns raised by several diplomatic missions including Russia.
“The matter has once again been conveyed to Department of Economic Affairs and we are awaiting a direction from it,” a source said.
There are approximately 200 staffers in Russian diplomatic mission in the national capital.
Russia is not the first one to complain about the demonetisation-induced restrictions. Earlier, the Dean of Diplomatic Corps had also raised the issue with the External Affairs Ministry.
It is also understood that some other countries like Ukraine and Kazakhstan have also raised the issue with the ministry.
After the demonetisation last month, MEA had said it has approached Department of Economic Affairs over issues including those related to maintaining sufficient flow of funds to diplomatic missions following demonetisation and was awaiting a decision by the finance ministry regarding it.
First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 22:39 IST