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Updated: January 12, 2014 04:05 IST

Khurshid rules out restoration of extra privileges to US diplomats

Special Correspondent
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External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid interacts with media on Diplomat Devyani Khobragade issue in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid interacts with media on Diplomat Devyani Khobragade issue in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

‘It was an appropriate response not a retaliation’

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday ruled out restoration of extra privileges to American diplomats and indicated India will continue persuading the U.S. to drop all charges against Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.

In a Karan Thapar interview for CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate show, Mr. Khurshid described the Khobragade incident as a “mini crisis” and defended India's decision to withdraw some privileges extended to U.S. Embassy staffers.

“No, there was no retaliation. I think it was an appropriate response, not a retaliation. We did what really is the formal procedures that apply to everybody. If they were friends, taking extra concessions, those extra concessions may have been discretionary given to them from time to time.”

“But when you take stock of what are our entitlements and what are your obligations, then it becomes important that you put everything in line,” he explained while pointing out that India should not be seen as extending more privileges to one country and less to others. India has asked the U.S Embassy to stop all commercial activities on its premises from next weekend and withdrew identity cards giving blanket privileges to some U.S. consulate staff.

On the charges against Ms. Khobragade that would not inhibit her from travelling to any country except the U.S. as a private citizen, Mr. Khurshid said India would try to “clean up things completely.”

Meanwhile, the Indian woman diplomat at the centre of the storm called on the Minister and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh to thank them for their backing since December 12 when she was arrested in New York on visa fraud charges based on a complaint by her domestic maid.

In another development, government sources identified the American diplomat targeted for retaliatory expulsion as Wayne May, Chief of the Embassy’s diplomatic security contingent. On Friday, he was given 48 hours to leave the country.

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India must be firm with the U.S.Government. We should not show any concession just because they claim to be a super power. We must adhere to our principles. Until the matter is amicably settled, India should not sign any treaty with the U.S.

from:  Dr. Ramesh
Posted on: Jan 12, 2014 at 17:46 IST

As usual Indian Govt, like in all spheres of its engagement with
its people, wishes to shoot the messenger than look at the message
for its fairness.

Sangeetha richards's illtreatment is not even acknowledged. All
the Indians who depend on sound relationship between USA and India
are forgotten. the crime committed is forgotten. The only thing
remembered is how can USA point out.

Pathetic show.

from:  kalyan
Posted on: Jan 12, 2014 at 07:05 IST

Can any body explain why hand-cuffing is required?(even if we assume
Indian diplomat has given false declaration).Whether she can run
away Without hand-cuffing? What did they search from her?

from:  sridhar
Posted on: Jan 12, 2014 at 06:53 IST

It's simple folks: being the world's only superpower does not give you
'arrogance privileges'. The same is true with the NYC police: being
the biggest city in the U.S. does not give them arrogance privileges
over people on the street either. If their policy says that strip
searches are to be effected for people arrested on visa violation
charges, then perhaps it's time to change that policy. No matter how
you look at it, strip searches are intended more to cower and insult
the person than to find knives hidden in one's anus. Perhaps everyone
in the government in the U.S., and its states and cities, needs to
take a moment and pull in their neck and realize how arrogant that
country has become. Doubt me? Then look at Governor Christie, blocking
traffic that affected millions... just because his pride was wounded.

from:  David Pepin
Posted on: Jan 12, 2014 at 05:24 IST

This whole episode puts India in a very bad light. It shows that Indian
govt willingly allowed its diplomats to lie on visa applications,
exploit domestic maids by paying them less than the promised amount. It
shows that the ministers and buerocrats of India are above the law. No
decent government in modern times can defend such behavior. This govt is
the most corrupt govt in the history of India. They have brought shame
and disrepute to the country which was once held in high esteem.

from:  Prasad
Posted on: Jan 11, 2014 at 21:35 IST

the diplomat, as it emerged in the newspaper was found guilty of visa
fraud charges. Diplomats are known for integrity, sincerity and are
law abiders. Knowing everything, why the Government of India is
asking for diplomatic immunity to the diplomat. US, unlike India, is
very strict in abiding laws and apply to everybody irrespective their
image and position. In India, the rules for separate for the poor and
the rich/bureaucrats. What would have been case if the culprit was the
domestic servant herself in this case ? Would the Government of India
interpret ?

from:  k pradeep
Posted on: Jan 11, 2014 at 20:04 IST

If we cannot prove her innocence in a court, we should move on as aam
aadmi is always facing consequences of their actions in the proper
spirit. This case is better closed

from:  shiva
Posted on: Jan 11, 2014 at 19:51 IST

The tenure of the current Minister of External Affairs should be remembered as the beginning of the Salman Doctrine. This doctrine states that the foreign policy of India towards any country is based on the diplomat's interest not India's interest. So the top priority of MEA's US policy should be arranging a Green Card in the US for Devyani not anti-terrorism cooperation or IT exports. Similarly MEA's UAE policy should be arranging flats for IFS officers in Dubai not oil deals or the condition of workers there. Finally the top priority in the Beijing embassy should be arranging Great Wall tours by all friends & relatives of IFS officers.

from:  Siddharth
Posted on: Jan 11, 2014 at 19:42 IST

she wouldn't pay her maid.
I wonder who's paying her legal fees...?

and Mr.Khurshid, the courts have to decide if she committed visa fraud
or not, and not you...

from:  hari das
Posted on: Jan 11, 2014 at 19:34 IST

Devyani blatantly lied to Indian court in her FIR. She produced only the second
contract with Sangeeta and didn't mention the first one.

A case should be filed against her and she should be suspended. She has brought
shame to India.

from:  Jennifer
Posted on: Jan 11, 2014 at 19:32 IST
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