"Issue must not be allowed to hurt ties"

The U.S. has reached out to India in the Deputy Consul-General Devyani Khobragade harassment issue with its Secretary of State John Kerry calling up National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon to discuss the December 12th arrest.

Though Mr. Kerry expressed his regret and concern over the treatment meted out to the diplomat, he also stressed the importance of enforcing laws and protecting victims. The U.S. has so far maintained that it was well within its rights to charge and arrest the diplomat because she had violated U.S. laws and was not entitled to full diplomatic immunity.

Mr. Kerry also said both sides must not allow this issue to hurt U.S.’ “close and vital relationship with India.”

At the same time, he said, like all officials in positions of responsibility in the U.S. Government, he expected that laws would be followed by everyone. “It is also particularly important to Secretary Kerry that foreign diplomats serving in the United States are accorded respect and dignity just as we expect our own diplomats should receive overseas.”

As a father of two daughters about the same age as Ms. Khobragade, the Secretary “empathises with the sensitivities we are hearing from India about the events that unfolded after Ms. Khobragade’s arrest,” said a U.S. State Department news release.

Strip search confirmed

Narayan Lakshman reports from Washington:

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), the detainment authority in the case of the senior Indian diplomat arrested in New York last Thursday, confirmed that the Deputy Consul General had been strip-searched and directed the media to their prisoner operations protocols for details.

Ms. Khobragade, meanwhile, said that during her arrest and detention, she “broke down many times” as she was subjected to the “indignities of repeated handcuffing, stripping and cavity searches.” She said this in an email that an Indian official with direct knowledge of the case confirmed as authentic to the Associated Press.

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