Khurshid calls for closure of Khobragade issue
Terming the Devyani Khobragade affair "extremely irksome", external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday said the US should find a "political solution" for a "closure" to the issue. | Devyani re-indictment can hurt ties: Indiaindia Updated: Mar 16, 2014 17:24 IST
Terming the Devyani Khobragade affair "extremely irksome", external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday said the US should find a "political solution" for a "closure" to the issue.
Khurshid was asked for his reaction to US prosecutors re-indicting the senior Indian diplomat on visa fraud charges and accusing her of "illegally" underpaying and "exploiting" her domestic help. The second indictment on Saturday came a day after a US court dismissed an earlier indictment.
Read:Devyani re-indictment can hurt ties: India
Asserting that there were "practical considerations" and India cannot look unconcerned when something like this happens, Khurshid said the court, by rejecting the first indictment, had given an opportunity to the US administration to put the issue behind. He wondered why the US was not doing so.
"Even at the worst time, I made repeated statements that although it is extremely irksome what has happened and we are convinced that what has happened is wrong and it should not be taken any further... this should not impact our larger relationship. But there are practical considerations.
"We cannot look unconcerned when something like this happens. We have to balance practical implications with our commitment to keep our relationship intact and in fact, enhance it," the minister told PTI in an interview.
Observing that "overall it has an effect and there was very deep sense of hurt here", Khurshid also said India was convinced that there were no justified grounds for what had happened.
The external affairs ministry had earlier expressed disappointment over an "unnecessary" step of second indictment and asserted that any measure consequent to the decision will "unfortunately" impact upon efforts on both sides to build India-US strategic partnership.
Referring to his meeting with his US counterpart John Kerry on the issue, Khurshid said, "We have already agreed that officials from both sides will meet to look into issue of immunity and privileges so that in future there is no trouble. When you are looking at no trouble in future, it is an ideal thing would be to put a closure to what has happened."
A 1999-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Khobragade was arrested in New York on December 12 and was strip-searched, triggering a row between the two countries with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats among other steps.
She was released on a $250,000 bond, was later granted full diplomatic immunity and she flew back to India on January 10. She has since been transferred to the external affairs ministry in New Delhi.