Diplomat arrest: Need to preserve and protect partnership with India, says US

Welcoming the statements of Khurshid on the importance of India-US ties soon after a diplomatic row erupted over the arrest of an Indian diplomat, a senior US official said there is need to "preserve and protect" the partnership.

PTI| Updated: Dec 21, 2013, 07:22 AM IST

Washington: Welcoming the statements of Salman Khurshid on the importance of India-US ties soon after a diplomatic row erupted over the arrest of an Indian diplomat, a senior US official said there is need to "preserve and protect" the partnership.

"I...Point you to the comments of External Affairs Minister Khurshid`s comments earlier today, where he talked about the importance of US-India relations, talked about how valuable they are. And we certainly fully agree that it`s important to preserve and protect our partnership," the State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

Responding to a question, she said, " it not just about diplomatic ties, we have over USD 90 billion in bilateral trades, we`re supporting thousands of jobs in both of our countries, we share very close counterterrorism cooperation."

"We are engaged with India, of course, on a range of issues, including Afghanistan, which is often a hot topic in here," Psaki said.

The US would continue discussions with India through diplomatic channels and private conversations, she said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is planning to call Khursheed soon to discuss the issue and discuss a way forward to the sudden eruption of tension between the two countries.

"We (Kerry) reached out to him (Khursheed), and I believe Parliament was in session; he wasn`t available at the time, but he looks forward to speaking with him soon when we can align the two schedules up," she said adding that Kerry has actively engaged on the issue and has received several briefings on the issue.

"He remains very engaged in this as it unfolds," she said. Responding to questions, Psaki acknowledged that there is differences between India and the US law enforcement agencies on the interpretation of the law.

"I think it`s accurate to say that our law enforcement authorities and the government of India have some different interpretations of the issues and allegations at play," she said.

The visa fraud complaint was filed by the Diplomatic Security wing of the State Department, is now a legal case, and the State Department doesn`t have jurisdiction over that, she asserted.

"We have been clear about our standing - our position of certainly standing with our judicial colleagues. So I don`t have any particular update on that, other than to say that this is a legal process that`s working its way through," she said when asked if US would drop charges against Devyani Khobragade.

"Now at the same time we of course are closely engaged with the government of India, we`re in close contact, and we want to move beyond this. I think we all recognise the importance of our long-term relationship," she said.
A 1999-batch IFS officer, Khobragade was arrested and then handed over to the US Marshals Service (USMS). She has since been posted to India`s Permanent Mission in New York.
Khobragade was taken into custody as she was dropping her daughter to school before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.