US seeks to calm stand-off with India over Khobragade
Washington: The US on Thursday sought to calm the escalating diplomatic stand-off with India over the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, the Consul General in New York, for alleged visa fraud, saying "this isolated episode is not indicative of close and mutually respectful ties we share".
The Indian government has strongly contested the allegations and protested against the arrest, hand-cuffing and strip-search of Khobragade by American law enforcement authorities in New York last week that has created an outrage in India and drew reprisal actions from New Delhi.
"I want to say that the United States and India enjoy a broad and deep friendship, and this isolated episode is not indicative of the close and mutually respectful ties that we share," the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters here.
"We understand that this is a sensitive issue for many in India, and we are looking into the intake procedures surrounding this arrest to ensure that all standard procedures were followed and that every opportunity for courtesy was extended," he said in response to a question.
He referred to the Justice Department all questions related to the arrest of 39-year-old Khobragade who was subject to treatments like strip search, cavity search as that of hard-core criminals and drug addicts.
Carney said US President Barack Obama has been briefed on the issue.
"He has been briefed on this issue, and I can tell you that the safety and security of our diplomats and consular officials in the field is a top priority," he said when asked about the retaliatory steps taken by the Indian government, including removing security barricades outside the US Embassy in New Delhi.
"We continue to work with India to ensure that all of our diplomats and consular officials are being afforded full rights and protections under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations," he said.
Carney said the US has conveyed at high levels to the government of India "our expectation that India will continue to fulfil all of its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations".
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