In a 30-minute interaction with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid stressed on the need to resolve matters that have caused “distress” and led to “stresses” in bilateral ties, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here on Thursday.
In particular, Mr. Khurshid dwelt on two issues — the treatment of Indian woman diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York and how a U.S. Embassy employee facilitated the “evacuation” of the family of the maid in contractual dispute with the diplomat.
Elaborating on the discussions, the MEA spokesperson said, “it is fairly well known that visas were issued to Indian nationals related to people [the maid Sangeeta Richard] who may have been trafficked. Our concern is that in a democracy where there are established avenues for resolving these issues, why does a country resort to evacuating people from that country to another country? This is what the External Affairs Minister raised,” said the spokesperson.
Meeting on the sidelines of Geneva-II talks on Syria, the two Ministers also recognised the need to put in place institutional arrangements to examine all outstanding issues relating to privileges of diplomats of both countries to avoid such a situation in future.
Ms. Khobragade was arrested on December 12 on visa fraud charges and released on a bail of $2,50,000, leading to a major diplomatic spat between India and the U.S.