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Khobragade case: India hopeful of solution despite US’ refusal to drop case

Devyani Khobragade

India today said entire gamut of Indo-US ties needs to be kept in mind by both sides while dealing with the case against its diplomat Devyani Khobragade 
Devyani Khobragade

New Delhi: India today said entire gamut of Indo-US ties needs to be kept in mind by both sides while dealing with the case against its diplomat Devyani Khobragade and hoped that the matter will be resolved despite US refusing to accept its demand of withdrawing charges against her.

Terming as “valuable” the bilateral ties, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said India was conscious of this while dealing with the “hurtful” and “unacceptable” treatment meted out to its diplomat in New York.

“I am conscious of the fact that this is a valuable relationship between two countries. A relationship in which enormous investments have been made not just by governments alone, but by private sector, by groups of individuals, by organisations and I think when we deal with each other we have to keep that entire gamut of different dimensions of our relationship in mind,” he said.

“I think that goes for both of us. We are conscious of this. I am sure they are equally conscious of this. We think it is important to preserve that relationship. I am sure they think as well that it is important to preserve the relationship,” he said.

“The only question is what you do when something happens that is irksome, that is hurtful, that is unacceptable. We are going to find a solution. And I hope that we will find a solution,” he said.

A 1999-batch IFS officer, Khobragade was arrested on December 12 on visa fraud charges as she was dropping her daughter to school and released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

The ill-treatment of its diplomat evoked a sharp reaction from India which initiated a slew of steps to downgrade the privileges enjoyed by the US diplomats and their families including withdrawing airport passes and stopping import clearances.

The External Affairs Minister refused to comment on the US’s refusal to withdraw charges against Khobragade and said talks are going on between the two sides.

“I am not sure that I can really respond to different voices that emerge authoritatively or otherwise from different levels within India or from the US,” Khurshid said when asked about the State Department spokesperson Marie Harf’s comments.

In Washington, the State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said Khobragade will have to face the “very serious” allegations and that the immunity sought for her after her transfer to India’s Permanent Mission to the UN is “not retroactive”.

“I believe my duty and entitlement is to be in conversation with my counterpart who is Secretary Kerry. At the lower level, there has been contact between the State Department and the Foreign Secretary,” Khurshid said.

He hoped that a solution will be found out as there have been “meaningful” talks on the issue between the two countries and referred to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s telephonic conversation with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon
on Wednesday night.

Khurshid said India has done what could be done to protect “dignity and comfort” of the diplomat.

“Now for me to react to anything said by anybody about the status of the case perhaps would be unfair and it would be uncalled for. While we get our conversation to logical conclusion and there is outcome one way or the other, we will be very happy to share that outcome with you,” he told reporters.

“One thing about diplomacy is that some parts of the diplomacy have to be done in public view and some parts of diplomacy have to be done with certain degree of discreetness till such time as diplomatic conversations are concluded and that’s how we see the situation.”


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