Washington, Dec 19: As the US-India standoff over the “barbaric” treatment of an Indian diplomat in New York continued, the White House Wednesday offered to review the procedures that were followed in her arrest on charges of visa fraud.
“We understand that this is a very sensitive issue for many in India,” White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters essentially repeating the statement made by State Department spokesperson Marie Harf Tuesday.
“Accordingly, we are looking into the intake procedures surrounding this arrest to ensure that all appropriate procedures were followed and every opportunity for courtesy was afforded” to Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, Carney said.
Like Harf, Carney too stressed that an “isolated episode” should not be allowed to cloud a “broad and deep friendship” and an “important relationship” with India.
“US and India enjoy a broad and deep friendship, and this isolated episode is not in any way indicative of the close and respectful ties that we share and will continue to share,” he said.
Asked about the slew of retaliatory measures taken by India in response to the treatment of Khobragade, Carney said: “Obviously, the safety and security of our diplomats and consular officers in the field is a top priority.”
“We have conveyed at high levels to the Government of India our expectations that India will continue to fulfill all of its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” he said
“We continue to work with India to ensure that all of our diplomats and consular officers are being afforded full rights and protections,” Carney added.
According to Indian officials, Khobragade, 39, was strip-searched, cavity-searched and swabbed for DNA after her arrest in New York on charges of visa fraud last Thursday, then confined with hardened drug criminals before being released on a $250,000 bail.
India’s national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon has called the treatment “despicable and barbaric.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)