Russia objects to Indian notes ban, threatens ‘counter steps’

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Russia has threatened to take “counter steps” and lodge a diplomatic protest over the Indian government move to ban big currency notes, which they say has hit their embassy’s operations in Delhi, Russian government sources told an Indian TV channel. The sources said that Ambassador Alexander Kadakin was waiting for a reply to his letter written to the Ministry of External Affairs on December 2.

Moscow, said the sources, may summon the Indian envoy this week and lodge a strong protest over the Rs 50,000 withdrawal limit imposed by the Reserve Bank of India on their spending.

In his letter to the Ministry of External Affairs, Kadakin said the spending limit set by the government was “totally inadequate for operational expenses”. “How can such a big embassy in Delhi function without cash?” asked the envoy.

Russian government sources have described the curbs as “a violation of international charters”. The Foreign Ministry has not officially commented yet but the sources said that they were waiting for the recommendations of an inter-ministerial task force that was set up to look into the problems being faced by embassies and NRIs.