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Important to preserve ties with US, will find solution: India

New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) India said Friday it was important to preserve ties with the US and both sides were working to find a solution to the “hurtful and unacceptable” treatment of its diplomat in New York.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, addressing a press conference, said there was need for both sides to engage in “meaningful conversation” to find a resolution to the diplomatic stand-off over the arrest and strip-search of Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, for visa fraud.

“I think that what could be done from our side in immediate reaction and response to the situation, we have already kept you informed in the media….. what we have to do in order to ensure that we take all the steps.. to protect the dignity and comfort of our diplomat posted in New York, I think also have been accomplished,” he said.

“I am conscious of the fact that this is a valuable relation between two countries and relation in which enormous investments have been made… and I think when we deal with each other we have to keep that entire gamut of different dimensions of our relations in mind. And I think that goes for both of us.

“We are conscious of this, I am sure they are equally conscious of this. We think its important to preserve that relationship, I am sure that they think as well that it is important to preserve this relationship. The only question is what to do when something happens that is irksome, that is hurtful, that is unacceptable. You have to find a solution and I hope that we will find a solution. Let me get back to you when my conversation is completed,” he added.

His comments came a day after US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman called up Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh during which they discussed specific steps to find a resolution to the issue.

Khobragade was strip and cavity-searched following her arrest on charges of visa fraud and underpaying her maid.

The call by Sherman was a follow up to the call by US Secretary of State John Kerry to National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon Wednesday, during which Kerry expressed regret over the situation.

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