Devyani's arrest: India says just regret not enough, US needs to accept its mistake

Kamal NathUS should apologise in unambiguous terms and accept their mistake, said Kamal Nath. (PTI)

Amid outrage over the treatment meted out to Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath on Thursday said an apology by the US "for the sake of formality" would not help and it should accept its mistake in "unambiguous terms".

"A regret for the sake of formality is not enough. They should apologise in unambiguous terms and accept their mistake," he told reporters here.

Nath said all countries should draw a lesson from the incident and "raise their voice" whenever such a thing takes place.

Meanwhile, Minister of State (External Affairs) Shashi Tharoor termed that act by US as "unacceptable", adding that if "friendly spirit" was absent in America's conduct, it would be difficult for India to abide by the spirit.

"In diplomacy, everything happens on the basis of reciprocity. You do something for us and we do something for you. If friendly spirit is absent in their conduct, it will become difficult for us to follow the friendly spirit," he said on the sidelines of a function.

"We cannot accept what has happened to her," Tharoor, who is also a former diplomat in the UN, said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on Wednesday described as "deplorable" the way the diplomat was treated in the US.

There is a strong demand that Khobragade be released unconditionally and all the charges against her dropped.

The government has taken a strong view of the diplomat's ill-treatment and announced a series of steps to strip US diplomats and their families of privileges, including withdrawing all airport passes and stopping import clearances for the Embassy, including for liquor.

39-year-old Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was taken into custody last week on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

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