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NEW DELHI: Even as the US says that the charges against Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested for visa fraud related to her maid servant, will not be dropped, India somewhat toned down its tone on Friday in the interest of “valuable’’ relationship with the US.
Striking a conciliatory tone, external affairs minister Salman Khan said, “I am conscious of the fact that this is a valuable relationship between our two countries.’’
He said India and the US will find a way out of the impasse. “We are going to find a solution. And I hope that we will find a solution.’’
The arrest, handcuffing and strip-search of 39-year-old Devyani Khobragade, who is India’s deputy consul general in New York, led to outrage in India, with the government revoking privileges for US diplomats and removing security barricades from around the US embassy in New Delhi.
Though India has moved Khobragade to its permanent mission at the UN so that she is eligible for immunity from US actions, US
State department spokesperson Marie Harf said during her press briefing on Thursday that immunity is “not retroactive” and that the Indian diplomat will face action for visa fraud and underpaying her maid.
But in Delhi, foreign secretary Sujata Singh, who has had rounds of talks on the phone with Wendy Sherman, US under secretary of state for political affairs, insisted, “ You do not treat an Indian diplomat in this manner whether it is in the US or any other country. We expect our diplomat to be given exactly the same courtesies that we extend to American diplomats or diplomat of any other country.’’