For the first time since the end of a month-long standoff over arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday met United States Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of Geneva II conference in Montreux, where both sides talked about putting in place “institutional arrangements” to check recurring of such incidents and affirmed importance of bilateral relationship.
Khobragade had on January 12 returned back to India after the US granted her full diplomatic immunity following her transfer to India’s permanent mission in New York. A New York grand jury had indicted her on charges of visa fraud and making a false statement. While the US asked Khobragade to leave the country, India retaliated by packing a US diplomat back to home.
“In view of the recent episode involving the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York, Khurshid and Kerry talked about the need to put in place institutional arrangements to look into all outstanding issues relating to the privileges and immunities of diplomats of both countries so that such issues could be resolved in a timely manner,” said a press release issued by the MEA.
Khurshid is also said to have underlined India’s concern over trafficking visas issued to the domestic worker Sangeeta Richard’s family by the US Embassy in India, which led to the “evacuation” of US diplomat Wayne May. “The two ministers have agreed to keep in touch to follow up on the progress on these issues,” said the press release.
Kerry and Khurshid also talked about “early realisation of the mutually agreed calendar of bilateral exchanges, including the visit of US Energy Secretary Moniz for the India-US Energy Dialogue and the visit of the Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, Margaret Hamburg.Moniz was supposed to visit India in first half of January, but it was postponed because of the strained ties.