India on Tuesday ignored U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell’s expression of regret for the manner in which diplomat Devyani Khobragade was arrested in New York and said it was more keen on the promised “authorised response’’ from Washington after it completes an inter-agency review of the episode.
Panel to examine U.S. information
Simultaneously, India is setting up a group of experts to examine information sought from the U.S. consulate here on pay and allowances to its Indian employees as well as details about whether establishments running on diplomatic premises were catering to non-consular staff as well.
India also dismissed reports suggesting that the U.S. was steadfast in pursuing the visa fraud case.
“In a pluralist democracy, various channels operate simultaneously and may have different views. We will go by what the State Department is communicating,’’ said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
“It will take time to collate information”
“They have indicated a process is on and we are awaiting the outcome of that process. They have not communicated that the process is complete,’’ he added.
The U.S. Ambassador here and the U.S. State Department have said Washington did not want the incident to negatively impact bilateral ties.
“We had some good conversations with our Indian counterparts. What we’re doing right now is letting that process play itself out and focusing from our end on moving the relationship forward,’’ noted State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf.
Having cancelled special airport passes, issued new identity cards to U.S. Counsellors, put curbs on duty free imports and removed security barricades, Mr. Akbaruddin said the Government had started a process on how to proceed with the information that the U.S. has said it will take some time to collate.
India did not wish to be involved in the controversy over whether the United Nations had actually informed the U.S. that Dr. Khobragade had been accredited as a full diplomat with India’s Permanent Mission at the UN in New York from August 26, well before her arrest on December 12.
“While it is for the U.N. to make the formal announcement about Dr. Khobragade having been a diplomat, I would find it extremely surprising if an international organisation does not periodically inform the host government about all those they have accredited,’’ said Mr. Akbaruddin while pointing out that as far as India was concerned this was done on August 26.
The MEA also did not think things would have been different had Dr. Khobragade mentioned her accreditation to the U.N. (which New Delhi was also unaware of till recently). “This was not something unknown to the host government in terms of information flow. Let us not blame the victim in this regard,’’ observed the spokesperson.