Thursday, April 17, 2014   

Delhi changes tune over diplomat dispute
(12-19 16:17)

India wants to ensure the anger over the arrest, strip-search and detention of a female diplomat in New York does not do lasting harm to its “valuable relationship'' with the US, the foreign minister said.
“I can't believe that either side wants to put at risk a very valuable relationship in which we have made an enormous investment,'' Salman Khurshid told India's CNN-IBN network.
“Things happen between friends, even things that are terrible.
“The whole thing about friendship is that it survives, survives the test of this nature.''
Khurshid was speaking the day after US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with India's National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon to try to ease tensions sparked by last Thursday's arrest of New York-based diplomat Devyani Khobragade.
The 39-year-old, who is now free on bail, was detained over allegations that she paid a domestic worker just US$3 an hour and lied about the employee's salary in a visa application.
The diplomat, deputy consul in New York, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
She faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for visa fraud and five years for making a false declaration, if convicted.
Her arrest and subsequent revelations that she was strip-searched have caused outrage in India
However Preet Bharara, the US federal prosecutor handling her case, has insisted Khobragade was arrested in the “most discreet'' way possible, was never handcuffed and was searched by a female deputy marshal in private.
He also confirmed that the victim's family had been brought to the United States for their protection after attempts in India were made to silence her and force her to return home.--AFP/AP

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