Washington, Dec 21: Trying to bring the temperatures down in their diplomatic spat, the US Friday welcomed India’s reconciliatory stress on the importance of preserving their “valuable” ties as they try to work out a solution.
The US and India were engaged in conversations at various levels to find a way forward, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters saying it agreed with the Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s views on how important and valuable the relationship is.
“Those are our views as well,” she said when asked about Khurshid’s comments on the importance of preserving the “valuable relation in which enormous investments have been made”.
However, on the issue of dropping the charges of visa fraud against Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, Psaki said “it’s a legal case” and the State Department had “no jurisdiction” in the legal process.
On the issue of diplomatic immunity for Khobragade in her new job at India’s Permanent Mission at the UN in New York, she said the concept of “retroactive” immunity does not work as it applies only to a diplomat’s current status.
“It does not mean a clean slate,” Psaki said. “It would not wipe out past actions and criminal charges remain on the book.”
The State Department, she said, had “not yet received an official request through proper channels for re-accreditation” of Khobragade.
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, also looked forward to having a conversation with Khurshid, who was “not available” when he called him Wednesday night, Psaki said.
Kerry then spoke with India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon to express “regret” over the mess-up.
The US is closely engaged with the Indian government on the issue, Psaki said as it certainly wants to continue all important components, including trade, in the comprehensive India-US partnership.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)