Diplomat case an insult: Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi, Dec 18 : The treatment meted out to Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the US was an "insult" which India has taken very seriously, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor said Wednesday.

"A diplomat serving the nation has been treated in an unacceptable manner. This is an outrageous violation of standards," the minister said during a media interaction at the Indian Women's Press Corps here.

"It is an insult that we have taken very seriously. We have always treated US diplomatic personnel with utmost courtesy. We have given them all sorts of access," said Tharoor, who was himself a UN undersecretary general for communications and public information.

"It was out of the spirit of bilateral relationship. I hope there would not be further deterioration (in the relationship). The onus is on them (the US) to examine what they have done," he said.

The 39-year-old Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, was strip-searched, cavity-searched and swabbed for DNA after her arrest in New York on charges of visa fraud. She was confined with criminals before being released on a $250,000 bail.

Asked why the government did not react so strongly in other cases when Indians have been made to undergo humiliating security checks, Tharoor said Khobragade was a serving diplomat.

"She was not travelling, she was a diplomat. This is the kind of treatment given to criminals," he said.

Reciprocity is the principle of diplomacy, he said. "This (the US step) is not a friendly reaction."

The minister, however, said the fundamental relationship between US and India was not in question, saying "It is valuable".

Tharoor was a candidate for the succession to then UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in 2006 and came a close second to Ban ki-Moon. His UN career began in 1978 when he joined the staff of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. He later served as the UN undersecretary-general for communications and public information and left the UN in March 2007, according to Tharoor's personal website.

--IANS (Posted on 18-12-2013)

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