India and the US are engaged in talks to repair ties damaged by the Khobragade issue, which "should never have happened", Indian envoy S Jaishankar has said.
Seeking to put behind recent tensions in bilateral ties following the arrest and indictment of senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade, he argued the case for a strong Indo-US relationship.
"What I have encountered since my arrival is the sense that this situation should never have happened. But since it did, we will now have to work through this problem. That is part of the conversations underway," said Jaishankar, who took over as the envoy last month.
"It is important to understand that negotiations on some of the more difficult issues are independent of our bilateral ties," he told a Washington audience yesterday.
"At the end of the day, our overall relationship is larger than the individual problems we examine and debate," Jaishankar said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Relations, an eminent American think-tank.
Khobragade, 39, was indicted on January 10 for visa fraud and making false statements by a grand jury.
A 1999-batch IFS officer, Khobragade, was arrested on December 12 in New York on charges of making false declarations in a visa application for her maid. She was released on a USD 250,000 bond.
The diplomat was strip searched and held with criminals, triggering a row between the two sides with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats.
Khobragade had returned to India after US authorities accorded her diplomatic immunity.