India has been declared by the State Department to be non-compliant with the Hague Abduction Convention for the last eight years.
The State Department has reported to Congress that within the past year it has taken the following actions in this regard against India:
· Officials at the highest levels of the Department engaged with the Government of India on the issue of IPCA. Senior U.S. government officials pressed the Indian government to assist with resolving abduction cases and accede to the Convention.
· The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi delivered Diplomatic Notes in May 2022, June 2022, August 2022, and December 2022, requesting the Government of India work with the Department through dedicated bilateral meetings to resolve abduction cases. These Diplomatic Notes to the Ministry of External Affairs also called for high-level dialogue between the Special Advisor for Children’s Issues and the Indian Ministry of Women and Child Development outside of the annual U.S.-India Consular Dialogue.
· In April 2022, the Secretary of State met with the Indian Minister of External Affairs as part of the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial and pressed the Indian government to assist with resolving all pending abduction cases while highlighting the lack of progress on IPCA cases since his first visit in July 2021.
· In October 2022, a Department delegation, led by the Special Advisor for Children’s Issues, met with Indian officials from the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of External Affairs, marking the first high-level engagement on IPCA outside the annual U.S.-Indian Consular Dialogue.
· In December 2022, Department officials briefed Indian judges and child advocates during an International Visitor Leadership Program on child protection. Briefers discussed preventing and resolving IPCA cases and provided information on U.S. law and the International Hague Network of Judges.
· In January 2023, the Special Advisor for Children’s Issues met with the Indian Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington, DC, and discussed ways to improve bilateral cooperation on IPCA, including through increased outreach on U.S. resources available to families in the United States to prevent abductions.
· In March 2023, Embassy New Delhi hosted a legal symposium with over 400 attendees. The child-centric discussion brought together Indian judicial leaders and government officials to discuss issues surrounding and the effects of international custody disputes.
· In April 2023, the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs raised IPCA as a leading issue during the U.S.-India Consular Dialogue with the Indian Joint Secretary of External Affairs and Joint Secretary of Women and Child Development. The Indian government requested additional details regarding a U.S. proposed working group to address IPCA and related consular issues.
· In May 2023, the Office of the Spokesperson released a media note to announce the release of the 2023 Annual Report on International Child Abduction and listed India as a country cited for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance.
· Also in May 2023, U.S. Embassy New Delhi delivered a demarche to the Ministry of External Affairs notifying the Indian government that the Department had cited India in the 2023 Annual Report for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance. The Special Advisor for Children’s Issues also delivered the demarche to the Indian Embassy in Washington, DC.
Jeremy D. Morley has provided expert evidence to courts in several U.S. states on such matters concerning India.