US 'sorry' for frisking of India ex-leader Abdul Kalam

APJ Kalam
Image caption Abdul Kalam has been frisked twice now while flying between the US and India

The United States has apologised after former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam was frisked at a New York airport.

The government in Delhi complained after the 80-year-old was frisked on board the aircraft, and had his jacket and shoes briefly taken away.

India has complained in the past about its treatment of dignitaries by US air staff - including a previous incident involving Mr Kalam in 2009.

Protocol exempts former presidents and other dignitaries from such searches.

The incident happened after Mr Kalam had taken his seat on board the Air India flight at JFK airport on 29 September.

Security staff forced the crew to open the plane door, and then took away Mr Kalam's jacket and boots because they had not done the necessary checks before boarding, the Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted sources as saying.

"The United States government extended its apology that appropriate procedures for expedited screening of dignitaries had not been followed," a statement from the US embassy in Delhi said.

"We deeply regret the inconvenience that resulted for him," it added.

Mr Kalam, president from 2002 to 2007, received an apology from America's Continental Airlines in 2009 after he was frisked before he boarded a flight to the US.

India demanded an apology last December after its ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar, was pulled from an airport security line and frisked by a security agent in Mississippi - even after her diplomatic status had been revealed.

Some reports said Ms Shankar, who was on her way from a conference, was singled out because she was wearing a sari.

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