News / Asia

India Vows to Protect Diplomat After US Arrest

FILE - Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, attends a fundraiser event in Long Island, New York, Dec. 8, 2013.
FILE - Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, attends a fundraiser event in Long Island, New York, Dec. 8, 2013.
Anjana Pasricha
India says it wants the case against its female diplomat, arrested last week in New York on charges of visa fraud, to be dropped.   It says it does not want the dispute over the diplomat to harm its friendship with Washington, but has vowed to do everything to protect her.  

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said Thursday that the case against a senior Indian diplomat at the Indian consulate in New York who was arrested last week did not deserve to be pursued and must be dropped.   

39-year-old Devyani Khobragade faces prosecution in the U.S. on charges of submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her household help, and allegedly underpaying her. She has denied the charges and was released on bail following her arrest last week.

India has been infuriated by the treatment meted out to her following her arrest.  The diplomat said she was handcuffed, strip searched and cavity searched.

A call by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to a top Indian official to express regret did not fully soothe India.
    
Kamal Nath is India’s parliamentary affairs minister. 

Nath said to just express regret was not enough.   He said there should be an apology and an admission U.S. authorities have made a mistake.
 
The diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, faces prosecution on charges of submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her household help, and allegedly underpaying her.  She has denied the charges and was released on bail following her arrest last week.

New York City U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, has said the diplomat was given courtesies beyond other defendants and she was not handcuffed in public.  He said she tried to evade U.S. law and created false documents.

India's foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin responded strongly on Thursday saying Bharara's statement was a post facto rationalization for an action that should never have taken place.

"The action taken against her was not in keeping with the Vienna Convention.  There were no courtesies in the treatment that was meted out to the diplomat under the normal definition of the word in the English language," he said.

The Indian government has transferred the diplomat to its mission at the United Nations, where she will get full diplomatic immunity.  But her new posting has to be cleared by the U.S. State Department.  

Khurshid told parliament Wednesday that India would protect and restore the dignity of the diplomat at any cost.

“I think the most important immediate concern is to ensure that no further indignity is inflicted upon the young officer.  And we are taking steps to ensure, legally, that we implement that immediately.  In terms of giving a strong, unambiguous, direct message to the United States of America, whatever I believe we were supposed to do we did immediately,” he said.   

In the days since the furor erupted, India has trimmed privileges of U.S. officials at consulates, rescinded airport passes and removed concrete security barriers in front of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Anonymous
December 19, 2013 12:35 PM
Thank you for standing by women in protecting their honor in a foreign land! Blessings to you all good men, who support hardworking and virtuous women!

by: Tom R. from: Eastern US
December 19, 2013 12:25 PM
I seriously can't believe this is happening. The State Department hasn't heard of diplomatic immunity from prosecution? Foreign diplomats are immune from criminal prosecution. The only thing that can be done legally is expulsion. This sets up the real possibility that India will retaliate by jailing one of our diplomats for any charge they wish to drum up. The stupidity of it all.
Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs