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India: No Standoff in Diplomatic Row with US

  • VOA News

This Dec. 8, 2013 photo shows Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, during the India Studies Stony Brook University fund raiser event at Long Island, New York.

This Dec. 8, 2013 photo shows Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, during the India Studies Stony Brook University fund raiser event at Long Island, New York.

India says there is no standoff with the United States over the arrest and strip search of an Indian diplomat in New York.

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said Saturday the two countries would sort out their differences following the return to India of diplomat Devyani Khobragade who was arrested in New York on visa fraud.

The dispute between the U.S. and India began when U.S. police arrested and strip-searched Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York. U.S. prosecutors say a federal grand jury in New York indicted Khobragade for paying her housekeeper less than the minimum wage and lying about it on the woman's visa application.

In an apparent compromise, the United States raised Khobragade's diplomatic status, which allowed her to leave the country.

India then demanded the expulsion of a U.S. diplomat from India.


Wayne May has been identified as the diplomat leaving the U.S. embassy in New Delhi. Media reports say he was instrumental in coordinating the case against Khobragade. He also is reported to have helped the family of the housekeeper get visas to enter the U.S.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday that she hoped the removal of the U.S. diplomat from India would bring closure to the situation.

The U.S. indictment accuses Khobragade of paying her housekeeper less than $2 per hour and making her work as much as 100 hours per week. Khobragade denies any wrongdoing.

U.S. officials say the charges against Khobragade will not be dropped, and that she would face them if she returned to the U.S. Khobragade said she was held in a space with common criminals and drug addicts when she was arrested, despite her repeated assertions that she had diplomatic immunity.

In response to the U.S. action, Indian officials lifted some diplomatic immunity for U.S. officials in New Delhi and ordered the U.S. embassy to restrict service at a club for diplomats.

Khobragade seems to have garnered more sympathy in India than her employee, who allegedly was paid only a third of the amount Khobragade had reported to U.S. authorities.
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