The U.S. has “deeply regretted” that India felt it necessary to expel an American diplomat after Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was asked to leave the country following her indictment in a visa fraud case.

“We deeply regret that the Indian government felt it was necessary to expel one of our diplomatic personnel,” State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said on Friday.

“I can confirm that a U.S. official accredited to the (American) Mission in India will be leaving post at the request of the government of India,” Ms. Psaki said.

The spokesperson said, “this has clearly been a challenging time in the U.S.-India relationship” and the U.S. expected that “this relationship will not come to a closure and India will take “significant steps” to improve the ties and return to a more “constructive place”.

“We expect and hope that this will not come to closure, and the Indians will now take significant steps with us to improve our relationship and return it to a more constructive place,” the spokesperson said.

Earlier, India expelled a senior American diplomat within hours of Ms. Khobragade being asked to leave the U.S. after her indictment in a visa fraud case for which she was arrested nearly a month ago, triggering a row between the two sides.

The unnamed Director-rank American diplomat based here was given “a little more than 48 hours” to leave India.

Arrested on December 12, Ms. Khobragade, 39, was strip-searched and held with criminals, triggering a row between the two sides with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain category of U.S. diplomats among other steps.

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