Terming as “unacceptable” the treatment meted out to Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, Union Minister Shashi Tharoor on Thursday said if the “friendly spirit” was absent in America’s conduct, it would be difficult for India to abide by the spirit here.

“In diplomacy, everything happens on the basis of reciprocity. You do something for us and we do something for you. If friendly spirit is absent in their conduct, it will become difficult for us to follow the friendly spirit,” he said on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi.

“We cannot accept what has happened to her,” Mr. Tharoor — also a former diplomat in the UN — said.

He also sought to dismiss the US stand that proper procedure was followed in the case. “They said they have followed their own procedures, but we do not accept the procedures for our diplomat. Therefore, we have taken actions here,” he said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry had on Wednesday spoken to National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and expressed “regret” over the arrest and strip-search of Ms. Khobragade.

India has sought withdrawal of the case against her.

The government has taken a strong view of the diplomat’s ill-treatment and announced a series of steps to strip US diplomats and their families of privileges, including withdrawing all airport passes and stopping import clearances for the Embassy.

39-year-old Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was taken into custody last week on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges before being released on a $2,50,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

She has been transferred to the Indian Mission to the UN to give her fuller diplomatic immunity.

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