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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

US hopeful of resolving Devyani Khobragade issue

PTI  Washington, January 07, 2014
First Published: 13:04 IST(7/1/2014) | Last Updated: 13:16 IST(7/1/2014)

The US has expressed hope of arriving at a resolution of the Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade issue, which has resulted in "hiccups" in the India-US bilateral ties.

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"Absolutely" the state department deputy Spokesperson, Marie Harf, told reporters at her daily news conference on Monday, when asked if the US was hopeful that the issue would be resolved.

This comes in the wake of strong Indian statement to the US that it cannot be "business as usual" between the two sides till the issue is resolved.

Vikram Doraiswami, Joint Secretary (Americas), conveyed this to US Ambassador Nancy Powell when she met him at South Block in New Delhi on Monday.

The US and Indian officials are believed to be working on both the diplomatic and judicial front to arrive at an amicable resolution of the issue, with US officials insisting that law would take its own course.

"As I've said, many, many times throughout this whole ordeal, that we don't want this to define our relationship going forward and don't think that it will," Harf said noting that the US does not want India-US ties to be affected by the arrest of the Indian diplomat in New York last month on visa fraud charges.

India has sought an US apology and withdrawal of charges against Khobragade.

The US, however, insists that this is an isolated incident.

"If you look throughout the region, if you look at Afghanistan, if you look at energy issues, economic issues, we have a whole host of things we work together on."  

"And those are very important and shouldn't be derailed by this incident. And that's why, again, we are putting the process forward. We're setting that aside," she said.

She said that the US is "letting it (this entire episode) run its course" and was focused on "where to go from here because, as we've always said, the relationship with India is incredibly important."  

"It's vital, and that's what we're focused on," the state department deputy spokesperson said.

Emphasising that the US-India relation is multi-faceted to be affected by this incident, Harf said: "We say the same thing privately that we say publicly: that there's a lot of work we have to do."  "There's a lot of business we have to get done together, a lot of issues we work very closely on economically, diplomatically, and that's what's important to us and that's what's important to do moving forward, and I have no reason to think that that won't be the case."


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