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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora