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Deeply regret that India expelled our diplomat: US

January 11, 2014 01:15 IST

The United States said it "deeply regretted" that India felt it necessary to expel an American diplomat after senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade was asked to leave the country following her indictment in a visa fraud case.

"We deeply regret that the Indian government felt it was necessary to expel one of our diplomatic personnel," the State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said.

"I can confirm that a US official accredited to the (American) Mission in India will be leaving post at the request of the government of India", Psaki said.

The spokesman said "this has clearly been a challenging time in the US-India relationship" and the US expected that "this relationship will not come to a closure and India will take "significant steps" to improve the ties and return to a more "constructive place".

"We expect and hope that this will not come to closure, and the Indians will now take significant steps with us to improve our relationship and return it to a more constructive place," the spokesperson said.

Earlier in the day, India on Friday expelled a senior American diplomat within hours of Khobragade being asked to leave the US after her indictment in a visa fraud case for which she was arrested nearly a month ago, triggering strong reaction from the government here.

The unnamed Director-rank American diplomat based here was given "a little more than 48 hours" to leave India even as Khobragade was on her way home from New York where the US government finally approved her accreditation to the UN which gave her full diplomatic immunity as against partial immunity at the time of her arrest on December 12 when she was Deputy Consul General there. 

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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