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US, India Meet to Get Ties Back on Track After Row

A senior U.S. diplomat met India's ambassador to the United States on Tuesday with the aim of getting bilateral ties back on track after the arrest and strip search of a female Indian diplomat and tit-for-tat expulsions.

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns hosted a "productive" lunch meeting with Indian Ambassador S. Jaishankar and both sides affirmed the importance of the U.S.-India strategic partnership and "discussed initial preparations for a range of upcoming bilateral meetings and exchanges," a statement from the U.S. State Department said.

"They agreed that the past several weeks have been challenging, and affirmed that we are both committed to moving forward to resume cooperation on the broad range of bilateral issues," the statement said.

The two officials also discussed matters raised by India's Foreign Ministry during the dispute, including alleged issues with the American Embassy School, the statement said. Burns said Washington took the concerns "very seriously and will continue to address them via appropriate diplomatic channels."

The statement said both Burns and Jaishankar "affirmed our shared commitment to continue joint U.S.-India work on issues such as clean energy and climate change, defense, economic and trade engagement, counterterrorism, and civil nuclear development."

On Saturday, India blamed the United States for what it called a "mini crisis" over the arrest and strip search of its deputy consul general in New York last month and said more work was needed to repair ties.

Image: Indian diplomat Khobragade leaves with her father to meet India's Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in New Delhi
A senior U.S. diplomat met India's ambassador to the United States on Tuesday with the aim of getting bilateral ties back on track after the arrest and strip search of a female Indian diplomat and tit-for-tat expulsions. Reuters

The Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, 39, was arrested in December on charges of visa fraud and lying to U.S. authorities about what she paid her housekeeper. Her treatment provoked protests in India and dealt a serious blow to U.S. efforts to strengthen ties.

Reuters