Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday said reciprocity has to be the key word if the relationship between India and the United States has to progress and both the countries need to work together to resolve the serious issue of mistreatment of diplomat Devyani Khobragade.
“I think if the relationship is to progress, reciprocity has to be the key word. If they treat our diplomats well, we will treat their diplomats well. And that is the way this relationship will go forward,” Mr. Abdullah told reporters here.
Mr. Abdullah rued the fact that “we go out of our way” to treat the US diplomats while Washington does not extend the same courtesy to the Indian diplomats.
“I think it is in the fitness of things that the US recognises that this woman was a diplomat (and) she should have been treated like a diplomat. More so, when we go out of our way to treat their diplomats very differently than we otherwise would,” he said.
“You take an example, when even mid-ranking US officials visit India, we open all doors for them. I mean the US Ambassador barely has to ask for an appointment and there is hardly an office in New Delhi that does not open to him or her. The same courtesy is not extended to the Indian Ambassador posted in Washington, the chief minister said.
Mr. Abdullah complimented the Centre for taking a strong stand on the issue.
“This is a serious issue that the US and India need to work together to resolve. That having been said, I think this is the first time that India has actually taken a strong stand on an issue like this which I think we should compliment the government of India for.
“I think some of the statements that are coming in the western press are indicative of the surprise that they are feeling that a country like India has actually had the guts to stand up for what is right,” Mr. Abdullah said.