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Devyani row: crisis with India ending, want to move relations forward, says US

PTI  Washington, January 14, 2014
First Published: 08:25 IST(14/1/2014) | Last Updated: 08:40 IST(14/1/2014)

The United States has voiced hope that the crisis with India over the arrest of a senior Indian diplomat in December would come to a closure and expressed its wish to get back to business and take bilateral ties forward.

"Clearly, this has been a challenging time in the US-India relationship... We just want to get back to business and we want to put this behind us, and we want both sides to work together to move the relationship forward," state department deputy spokesperson, Marie Harf, told reporters at her daily news conference.

"We expect that this time will come to a closure, though -- I think we're increasingly getting towards that point -- and that together we will now take significant steps with the Indian government to improve our relationship and return it to a more constructive place," Harf said.

"What we're focused on is, is the situation coming to an end and moving forward," Harf said.

India-US relations plunged after the arrest of the senior Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, on charges of visa fraud and misrepresentation of facts.

Khobragade, who was asked by the United States last week to leave the country, is now in India.

India not only accused the US for violating the Vienna Convention, but in a retaliatory reaction, also withdrew a number of privileges extended to American diplomats in India and asked for the departure of a US diplomat from New Delhi.

Meanwhile, Rose E Gottemoeller, Acting under secretary of state for arms control and international security, met Indian ambassador to the US, S Jaishankar, at the state department to discuss bilateral cooperation.

"She stressed that it is critical that both sides refocus our attention on the broad agenda before us and underscored the importance of increasing bilateral cooperation on nonproliferation, defense and arms control," Harf said.

Jaishankar, whose arrival in the US coincided with the crisis, has also been meeting the members of the Congress.

"So this is just an example of an issue we work together with each other on all the time, a routine issue. This is the kind of business we just need to get back to, quite frankly, now that this is hopefully coming to an end," the state department spokesperson said.

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