India backs off in Norway kids row, wishes children well
The Indian government said it would not be sending an official to attend the court hearing in Norway on 23 March and while it would continue to view developments, it would not intervene for now.
The Indian government today said it would not intervene in the custody battle involving an NRI couple in Norway given that there were personal issues that need to be resolved between the parents.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Preneet Kaur said India originally planned to send an official of Joint Secretary rank to the court hearing on 23 March but following reports of marital discord between the parents of the children, it had decided not to intervene.
"We are just going to watch the situation," Kaur told reporters.
"We would have carried on but now it has become a personal matter between the husband and wife. The uncle has also said he is not willing to take the children," the minister said.
"We can only wish the children well," Kaur said.
Foreign Minister SM Krishna, who had earlier assured the parents of support in the case, today said the situation was highly unfortunate.
A Norwegian court was expected to award the custody of the children to their uncle, Arunabas Bhattacharya, who was prepared to return to India with them.
However, marital discord between Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, the parents of the children, has emerged and resulted in the delay of preparation of documents which could mean the children will continue to remain in foster care.
The children were taken from their parents' custody in May 2011. The children's visas are set to expire soon but they could be granted visas to stay on in foster care in Norway if their custody is not awarded to their uncle or parents.
A Kolkata-based NGO has appealed to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to assist it in bringing back to India the two children who are in the midst of a custody row in Norway.
Should the Indian government have paused to understand the Norwegian system better before rushing in to support the Bhattacharyas?