US hopes diplomat's arrest won't affect bilateral ties

The US has hoped that the major diplomatic row over the arrest of the Indian Deputy Consul General in New York will not affect bilateral ties with India.

In a major diplomatic embarrassment to India, 39-year-old Devyani Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was taken into custody on Thursday 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.

"We are handling this incident through law enforcement channels. We have a long-standing partnership with India, and we expect that that partnership will continue," US State Department spokesperson said.

The State Department, however, refused to comment on the specific case, describing it as a pending matter in court.

Khobragade's arrest, only a day after Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh concluded her highly successful Washington trip, has caused a major diplomatic crisis between India and the US.

Lodging a strong protest against the arrest of of Deputy Consul General in New York, India has conveyed to the US that such a kind of a treatment to its diplomat is "absolutely unacceptable".

"It was conveyed in no uncertain terms that this kind of treatment to one of our diplomats is absolutely unacceptable," the Indian Embassy said in a statement on Friday after the Charge d'Affaires Taranjit Singh Sandhu met senior officials of the US State Department.

Singh also asked the US officials to resolve the matter at the earliest during the meeting.

In Delhi, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh summoned US Ambassador Nancy Powell to convey India's "shock" over "absolutely unacceptable" treatment meted out to the senior Indian diplomat.

After the arrest, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal discussed the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy.

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