India hopeful of early resolution of diplomatic row

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New Delhi, December 22:  “Something will happen”, said External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday on the prospects of an early resolution of the stand-off arising out of the arrest of senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the U.S.

As India and the U.S. continued to make efforts to resolve the issue, Ms. Khobragade, who has since been transferred as Counsellor in the Indian Mission to the UN to give her full diplomatic immunity, has sought waiver from attending the pre-trial process. A decision on her plea will be known on Monday.

Asked how hopeful he was of a resolution of the issue soon, Mr. Khurshid told PTI, “World keeps moving forward, world never dies, world never stops. Something will happen.”

On the U.S. State Department welcoming his remarks on Indo-U.S. ties, he told PTI, “They (the U.S.) must do something. Welcoming is not enough”.

Mr. Khurshid had termed the U.S. as a valuable partner emphasising that both sides need to preserve the “extremely exceptionally valuable” relations.

The 39-year-old Ms. Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer posted as Deputy Consul General in New York, was taken into custody last week on visa fraud charges as she was dropping her daughter to school before being released on a $ 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

India had demanded that the case against Ms. Khobragade be dropped unconditionally but it was rejected by the U.S.

Meanwhile, the deadline for the U.S. diplomats and families in India to turn-in their IDs will expire on Monday, with government not extending it.

It was among the measures taken by India to downgrade privileges of U.S. diplomats in the country after Ms. Khobragade was arrested and put through both strip and cavity searches, procedures normally used for criminals.

In New York, India’s Ambassador to the U.N. Asoke Mukerji said he had written a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon around December 18-19 informing him of Ms. Khobragade’s transfer as Counsellor to the Indian mission here and requested that she be accorded the same privileges and immunities as a diplomatic officer.

Mr. Mukerji said the papers are being processed and the UN has to send Ms. Khobragade’s documents to the U.S. Office of Foreign Missions, which is part of the U.S. State Department protocol for clearance.

“Now it is between the U.N. and the U.S. State Department,” he said.

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