Devyani Khobragade row 'closure' not on agenda, says fuming India

Jan 13 2014, 21:06 IST
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SummaryAfter Devyani Khobragade row, past to determine the future, says India.

The US may be hoping that Devyani Khobragade episode will come to "closure" with the senior Indian diplomat's departure for home, but India today indicated a different viewpoint, saying it will move forward in the relationship based on "its experience" in the past.

India has already made it clear that it will continue to press for dropping of visa fraud charges against senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested on December 12 in New York and subsequently indicted by a jury in the case.

Immediately after the indictment, Khobragade was asked to leave by the US, which also granted her full diplomatic immunity.

"We will take each day as it comes because it is important to look back and forward. The relationship between India and the US is not a one-issue relationship. We have a series of issues that we are engaged. We will take this matter after carefully examining what has been our experience in the past and we will move forward on this broad relationship that we have," Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said here.

At a briefing in Washington after the departure of Devyani Khobragade, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said, "This has clearly been a challenging time in the US-India relationship. We expect and hope that this will now come to closure and the Indians will now take significant steps with us to improve our relationship and return it to a more constructive place."

Meanwhile, drawing lessons from the Devyani Khobragade episode, MEA has also decided to "vigorously" pursue its proposal with finance ministry to make "significant" changes in the status of domestic assistants like maids helping Indian diplomats in the US and the Europe.

Noting that the proposal was in "gestation" from more than an year with finance ministry, the Spokesperson said the ministry hopes to pursue vigorously the proposal, which has legal, financial and visa status implications.

With nearly three cases involving senior Indian diplomats and their Indian-Based Domestic Assistants (IBDA) occurring in last three years in the US, the government had initiated the process of reviewing the policy dealing with the issue.

Under the MEA proposal, the IBDAs, who are entitled to boarding and lodging, return passage and holiday passage and same medical care as their bosses apart from cash payments, can be taken as contractual employees of government. At present, they are treated as quasi-official staff.

As a fallout of Devyani Khobragade episode, the

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