India,US in ‘conversation’ to resolve diplomat issuehttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/india-us-in-conversation-to-resolve-diplomat-issue/

India,US in ‘conversation’ to resolve diplomat issue

Is it unreasonable to expect our diplomat to serve with dignity,asks Khurshid

Efforts to resolve the Indo-US diplomatic standoff over senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade’s arrest continued Saturday with both sides stating that they are in “conversation” to find a way out. Publicly,their common refrain was that the bilateral relationship was extremely valuable,though Washington continued to harp on their line that Khobragade would not enjoy diplomatic immunity “retroactively”. She has since been transferred to the Indian Mission to the UN to give her full immunity.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid maintained his conciliatory tone when he termed the relationship “extremely exceptionally valuable”,a sentiment reciprocated by the US State Department which said,“It is important to preserve and protect our partnership”.

Khurshid told reporters in New Delhi,“We are in a conversation at different levels. Let the conversation go to its logical conclusion.”

In Washington,a State Department spokesperson said the US was “continuing the conversation with our Indian counterparts privately” to resolve the situation.

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Asking the US to “understand the value of the relationship”,Khurshid asked whether it was “unreasonable” for India to expect Washington to allow its diplomat to serve with dignity. The State Department maintained that even if there was a change in the status of Khobragade from being Deputy Consul General with limited immunity to being posted to the UN mission where she gets full immunity,there would not be a “clean slate” from the past charges.

Khurshid,who was criticised for allegedly not helping the riot victims of Muzaffarnagar,said,“People do not like the idea that I said if I do not get justice for my diplomat in the US,I will not comeback to Parliament. Was that a terrible thing to say. There are people who think I am being dramatic in saying that. Somebody said to me there are 50,000 Muslims in Muzaffarnagar and you did not say you will not comeback to Parliament if they were not given justice. I believe that giving them justice is in my control,my right within democratic governments of UP and India and we will do that,” he said. “It is for me to be able to exercise the same right with the US,” Khurshid said.

In an apparent attack on Preet Bharara,the US prosecutor handling the case,the minister said,“There is no reason why a conversation of high vault and high status that we have with the US should get interrupted. But it gets interrupted because there are some people who sit and pontificate and say this is time for war. But we answer and say no,the time for war is over. This is time for peace.”

Devyani’s father says maid could be CIA agent

Uttam Khobragade,former IAS officer and father of Devyani Khobragade,India’s deputy consul general in New York,Saturday alleged her daughter’s former maid Sangeeta Richards could be a “CIA agent”.

He said her daughter had been made a “scapegoat” and the possibility of a conspiracy behind the visa fraud allegations against her could not be ruled out. Stating that the family would get justice only after the “false charges” against Devyani were dropped,he said Sangeeta Richards could be a “CIA agent”. US authorities had last week arrested Devyani on the charge of providing false information in her maid’s visa application,causing a major row between the two countries.

“Going by the developments that have taken place over the last one year,the government of India feels that it appears to be a conspiracy,” Uttam Khobragade said at a press conference with Republican Party of India chief Ramdas Athawale. “Also from the given circumstances,we suspect that Sangeeta Richards is an agent of the CIA,” he said. “We were made scapegoat in the whole case. Devyani is a brave woman and she has been performing all her duties regularly.” Athawale said the case was bogus and the maid could be “CIA agent”.

“Government should probe this angle,” he said.

Athwale added,“I appeal to all my party workers that till the charges framed against Devyani are not dropped,they should continue the agitation.”

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