Kerry lands in India, aides decline Snowden comment

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived on his first official visit to India Sunday, an AFP reporter said, as the US administration was rocked by news that a wanted former American intelligence operative had flown out of Hong Kong.

Officials travelling with Kerry declined immediate comment on the news that Edward Snowden, who faces a US arrest warrant over his leaking of a massive surveillance programme, had left Hong Kong for a "third country".

Kerry flew in to New Delhi from Qatar at the start of a three-day visit devoted to bolstering a nascent strategic partnership with India.

Russian media reported that Snowden was on his way to the Venezuelan capital Caracas via Cuba, having boarded a Moscow-bound flight in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government has confirmed Snowden's departure, saying it had "no legal basis" to prevent the 30-year-old leaving because the US government had failed to provide enough information to justify a provisional arrest warrant filed on Friday.