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US Withdraws Diplomat After India Demands Expulsion

The United States says it will withdraw a diplomat from its embassy in New Delhi after India demanded the expulsion, in a growing dispute between the two countries.

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 an Indian diplomat the U.S. accuses of underpaying her housekeeper. He also is reported to have helped the family of the housekeeper receive visas allowing them to go to the U.S.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Friday that she hopes the removal of the U.S. diplomat from India will bring closure to the situation.



"We deeply regret that the Indian government felt it was necessary to expel one of our diplomatic personnel. This has clearly been a challenging time in the U.S.-India relationship."



The dispute between the United States and India began when U.S. police arrested and strip-searched India's deputy consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade. 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 increased Khobragade's diplomatic immunity that allowed her to leave the country.



Khobragade arrived in India Friday.



"I just want to thank my nation for the support that they've given me, thank you.''



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 United States.

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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