External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said yesterday that India and the US are in talks to resolve the stand-off over the arrest and handcuffing of an Indian envoy and both sides would not want their close ties to be hurt by this one incident. The minister said the ongoing “conversation” between India and the US to resolve the row over the treatment meted out to India’s deputy consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, should be allowed to reach its “logical conclusion”.
“Let the conversation go to its logical conclusion ... my conversation (with the US) is not complete,” Khurshid said to questions on what India and the US are doing to resolve the stand-off, especially after the US said it would not dilute its legal stand on Khobragade, charged with visa fraud and underpaying her maid. He said India and the US have close ties that have been built over many years and both sides would not want the partnership to be spoilt over “one incident”.
India is taking a tough stand on the incident, including paring down of special privileges meant for US diplomats and ministers and top officials declining to meet a visiting US Congressional delegation. India has termed the strip and cavity search of Khobragade barbaric and despicable and demanded an apology and unconditional withdrawal of the case against the envoy.
Khurshid said there are some people in the US “who pontificate and say this is time for war” referring to Manhattan Attorney Preet Bharara who has taken a tough position in the case.
Meanwhile, Sangeeta Richard, the housekeeper and nanny of India’s deputy consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, had told her only daughter that she was very happy with her job and was being paid well.
Jennifer, the 20-year-old daughter of Richard, 42, had shared the information a few months ago with one of her college mates living near her house in Sultanpur Colony in South Delhi. Jennifer’s statement is contrary to what her mother had said in her complaint to US authorities after she went absconding in June. She had said that she was underpaid and overworked.