WASHINGTON: The United States is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the arrest in New York of an Indian diplomat, a US official said Tuesday, after it sparked fury from New Delhi.
India has launched a series of reprisals after last week´s arrest of its deputy consul general, Devyani Khobragade, which it denounced as “humiliating.”
“State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf acknowledged it was a “sensitive issue.”
“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 extended,” she said in a statement.
Khobragade was arrested after dropping her children off at school for allegedly underpaying her domestic helper, who is also an Indian national, and for lying on the helper´s visa application form.
The arrest cuts into a series of issues in India, where fear of public humiliation, particularly among the middle and upper classes, resonates deeply, and pay and conditions for servants is kept mostly private.
The case is also the latest involving alleged mistreatment of domestic workers by wealthy Indian families. Many are poorly paid in India and rights groups regularly report cases of beating and other abuse.
Harf said that while it was a US “law enforcement issue” which will have to go through the official channels, “we will continue to work (on) this issue with India in the spirit of partnership and cooperation that marks our broad bilateral relationship.”
“The United States and India enjoy a broad and deep friendship, and this isolated episode is not indicative of the close and mutually respectful ties we share,” she added.
In the escalating row over the arrest, the Indian government Tuesday ordered a range of measures including the return of identity cards for US consular officials that speed up travel into and through India, Indian foreign ministry sources said.