US hopes diplomat's arrest would not affect bilateral ties

The US today described as an "isolated incident" the arrest of Devyani Khobragade and

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hoped that the matter would not derail the bilateral ties, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry expressed regret over arrest and strip-search the senior Indian diplomat.

"We view this as an isolated incident that does not reflect on our relationship," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference.

"We will obviously consult with our counterparts in India about it and we will also obviously discuss with them the vital need to maintain the security of US diplomatic and consular officials in India because that is a top priority," Carney said in response to a question.

The United States and India enjoy a broad and deep friendship, he said.

"And this isolated incident is not, in our view, indicative of the close and mutually respectful ties that we share, and we look forward to continuing to work on that relationship and make it stronger," he added.

"We are reviewing what happened in this case," Carney said when asked about the outrage in India on the alleged mistreatment of Khobragade in New York following her arrest last week on charges of visa fraud.

"Not at all," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at her daily news conference when asked if this would derail the bilateral ties with India.

"Our hope, certainly, and what the Secretary (of State) conveyed today, is that it doesn't. There are too many important issues that we work on together. We do have a very close, vital relationship," she said.

"All you have to do is look at the meetings with the President and the Vice President and the Secretary have had with our Indian counterparts to really demonstrate how important this relationship is. That's why we don't believe this isolated episode should further hamper our efforts to work together. And that's why we're focused on moving forward here," Harf said.

Kerry yesterday called up National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and expressed regret over the treatment meted out to Khobragade as he tried to quell the escalating diplomatic stand-off with India over the incident.

"In his conversation with National Security Advisor Menon, he expressed his regret, as well as his concern that we not allow this unfortunate public issue to hurt our close and vital relationship with India," the State Department said in a statement after the telephonic conversation between Kerry and Menon.

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