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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Khobragade row: may have been errors of judgment, says US

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Washington, December 30, 2013
First Published: 00:39 IST(30/12/2013) | Last Updated: 00:41 IST(30/12/2013)

Is there a softening of US stand on the Devyani Khobragade issue?

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Unidentified US officials told PTI news service that there may have been a "judgemental error" in the arrest of the Indian diplomat and the manner in which it was conducted.

The incident has been under review, as stated by the state department right at the beginning of the row, but there are no other indications a resolution looks imminent.

Both the US state department and the department of justice declined to comment on the report.

The US had earlier expressed regret over the incident, in a phone call to national security adviser Shivshankar Menon by secretary of state John Kerry.

But India had rejected it, demanding instead an unconditional apology, which has not been offered yet.

New Delhi then rolled out a bunch of retaliatory measures based on reciprocity — withdrawing privileges enjoyed by US diplomats in India but not reciprocated to Indian diplomats in the US.

And, most notably, for Washington DC removed traffic barriers from outside its embassy in New Delhi.

Khobragade, in the meantime, has started working at India’s permanent mission to the UN, and received her UN identity card. A change of her visa status from A-1 to G-1 is awaited.

The US has said it is reviewing her papers, forwarded by the UN.

Khobragade was arrested for alleged visa fraud and underpaying her nanny — charges she has denied. She was handcuffed and strip-searched, a development which has caused outrage in India.

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