Agencies, New Delhi
India had some plain talk with the US over the Devyani Khobragade issue telling it that the arrest of its diplomat and later developments had caused great distress to it and the matter should be resolved in the interest of their relationship.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here today that the issue was taken up by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the Geneva II conference on Syria in the Swiss city of Montreux yesterday.
Replying to a question at a media briefing, he said after the meeting there was an understanding from both sides that the situation had caused great distress and the stress caused in the relationship due to the incident should be removed, as both of them consider their ties as very important.
India also expressed its great objection to the way the US helped in the evacuation of the husband and children of Khobragade’s maid Sangeeta Richard.
‘’In a democracy, there are established avenues for resolving the issue,’’ Mr Akbaruddin said replying to a question on the way the US got involved in Ms Khobragade’s dispute with her maid.
The Ministry of External Affairs had earlier in a statement about the Khurshid-Kerry meeting said, ‘’In view of the recent episode involving the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York, External Affairs Minister and the Secretary of State recognised the need to put in place institutional arrangements to look at all outstanding issues relating to the privileges and immunities of diplomats of both countries so that such issues could be resolved in a timely manner.’’
The Ministry said the External Affairs Minister also underlined India’s concern over the trafficking visas issued to Indian nationals by the US Embassy in India.
The two Ministers agreed to remain in contact to follow up on the progress on these issues.
Ms Khobragade, who had been posted in New York as Deputy Consul General, had been arrested in New York on December 12 on charges of visa fraud and underpaying her maid whom she had brought from India. She was later released on bond. The humiliating way in which she was treated had caused nationwide anger forcing India to take some retaliatory measures in reducing or withdrawing some privileges to US consular staff.