The U.S. State Department says the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York City who says she was stripped and cavity searched was an “isolated incident” and not a reflection on the close ties between the USA and India.
“The U.S. 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,” Marie Harf, deputy spokeswoman at the State Department, told reporters Monday. “We don’t want this to negatively impact our bilateral relationship, and we’ll keep talking it with – about it with them on the ground and here.”
Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, said U.S. authorities subjected her to a strip search, cavity search and DNA swabbing following her arrest on visa charges in New York City, despite her “incessant assertions of immunity.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the diplomat’s treatment as “deplorable.”
The case has sparked widespread outrage in India and infuriated the government, which revoked privileges for U.S. diplomats to protest her treatment. Indian police also removed security barriers around the U.S. embassy in New Delhi. India-U.S. relations have cooled in recent years despite a 2008 nuclear deal that was hailed as a high point in the nations’ ties.
Harf said the safety and security of U.S. diplomats and facilities are “a top priority”.
“We’ll continue to work with India to ensure that all of our diplomats and consular officers are being afforded full rights and protections,’ she said.
Khobragade was arrested Thursday outside of her daughter’s Manhattan school on charges that she lied on a visa application about how much she paid her housekeeper, an Indian national… see more