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India orders US to withdraw diplomat as row festers

Published on Jan 11, 2014 3:37 AM
Supporters of Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena, a Hindu hardline group, carry placards during a protest near the U.S. embassy in New Delhi after the arrest of Indian diplomat Dr Devyani Khobragade. -- PHOTO:REUTERS

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - The United States said on Friday it would withdraw one of its diplomats from New Delhi at India's request after Washington effectively expelled an Indian envoy at the centre of a dispute between the countries.

Dr Devyani Khobragade, 39, who was India's deputy consul-general in New York, was arrested in December on charges of visa fraud and lying to US authorities about what she paid her housekeeper. Dr Khobragade's arrest angered Indians amid disclosures she was handcuffed and strip-searched.

Dr Khobragade arrived in New Delhi on Friday night and was met by her father, Mr Uttam Khobragade. She left the airport terminal through a side entrance out of sight of reporters and TV crews. "Her words to me were, 'Papa I love you,'" her father told reporters.

Shortly afterward, the US State Department said it would recall a US diplomat, whom it did not identify, at India's request. "This has clearly been a challenging time in the US-India relationship. We expect and hope that this will now come to closure and the Indians will take significant steps with us to improve our relationship and return it to a more constructive place," department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Washington.

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