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Indian FM Downplays US Diplomatic Spat

  • VOA News

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in an undated picture from her Twitter account.

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in an undated picture from her Twitter account.

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid says current tensions over the arrest of an Indian diplomat in the United States will not harm the relationship between the two countries.

Khurshid told reporters in New Delhi Saturday that India has a valuable relationship with the United States that should not be affected by one incident. He called for further talks to resolve the case of Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested in New York on charges of visa fraud and exploitation of a maid, whom she brought from India.

Khobragade was arrested December 12 in New York and released on $250,000 bail after giving up her passport and pleading not guilty to charges of visa fraud and making false statements about how much she paid her household help.

Her subsequent complaint of being strip-searched and handcuffed while in custody has caused outrage in India.

The Indian government has transferred Khobragade to its United Nations delegation in an apparent move to protect her from U.S. prosecution. It is not clear, however, if U.S. authorities will approve the move before a legal resolution of her case.

Protesters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, on Saturday burned effigies of U.S. President Barack Obama and the Statue of Liberty. And, a regional party leader said India should respond by arresting homosexuals working in U.S. embassies.

In a suburb of Mumbai, angry activists vandalized a Domino's Pizza outlet on Friday.

India has complained about the treatment of its diplomat and wants all charges against her dropped.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement Wednesday saying Khobragade was extended courtesies far beyond what other defendants, mostly American citizens, are accorded.

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.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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