Ignoring the U.S. viewpoint, India has refused to consider the Devyani Khobragade episode as “closed,” saying there are “residual” issues which need to be addressed.
Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said India had made its expectations clear to the U.S. on the issue and hoped that it would be resolved.
“There are residual issues,” she told PTI in an interview when asked whether the Khobragade episode was a closed chapter as was being treated by the U.S. However, she refused to elaborate on what steps were needed from the U.S. to satisfy India.
Ms. Singh said India had expressed its unhappiness over the filing of a second indictment against Ms. Khobragade for visa fraud. “We would have preferred that it [second indictment] did not happen,” she said.
A 1999-batch IFS officer, Ms. Khobragade was arrested in New York on December 12 last — on charges of visa fraud and underpayment to her domestic help — and was strip-searched, triggering a row between the two countries. India retaliated by downgrading privileges of certain category of U.S. diplomats among other steps.
Ms. Khobragade was released on a $250,000 bond and was later granted full diplomatic immunity, following which she flew back to India on January 10. She has since been transferred to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.
Though the first indictment against her was rejected by a U.S. court, prosecutors last month re-indicted her on visa fraud charges and accused her of “illegally” underpaying and “exploiting” her domestic maid.
On whether the incident had affected relationship between the two countries, Ms. Singh replied: “To an extent, yes. But that is the strength of the relationship that in spite of having something like the Khobragade incident, you can sit down and talk to each other.”