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Khurshid, Kerry meet; commit to take ties forward

January 22, 2014 23:30 IST

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday met his United States counterpart John Kerry in Montreux for the first time after a row over the arrest of an Indian diplomat as they committed to move forward bilateral ties and return to close partnerships on strategic issues.

Kerry met Khurshid, in Montreux, Switzerland, on sidelines of international Geneva-II conference on Syria. This was the highest level meeting between the two countries after the recent Devyani Khobragade issue, that created tensions between the two countries.

"Kerry met briefly with Khurshid on the margins of the Geneva II conference," a senior State Department official said.

"They discussed their shared commitment to moving the relationship forward and returning to close partnerships on strategic, security and economic issues," the official said.

"They agreed to work with their teams back at home to schedule the energy dialogue soon and to stay in close touch in the coming months," the official said.

The Energy Dialogue -- initially scheduled for earlier this month -- was cancelled amidst tension between the two nations in the aftermath of the arrest of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York last month on the charges of visa fraud and misrepresentation of facts.

Khobragade, 39, has refuted the charges. Her arrest and alleged mistreatment resulted in a major diplomatic row. India initiated a slew of initiatives in retaliation to the arrest and strip-search of Khobragade.

India took several retaliatory measures like reducing the diplomatic privileges of American diplomats in India and bringing it at par with what Indian diplomats get in the USIndia has been demanding withdrawal of charges against Khobragade, who was indicted by a jury in New York hours before she left that country after getting full diplomatic Immunity.

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