Reciprocity, equal treatment for all diplomats important: Natwar Singh

New Delhi, Jan.9 : Commenting on the arrest in the United States of the Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, Congress leader Natwar Singh on Thursday said that reciprocity was important as the American diplomats here get a lot of freedom, but our diplomats in the United States do not get the same .amount of freedom.

"Reciprocity is important. This should have been done 25 years back. The American diplomats here get a lot of freedom, but our diplomats in the United States never get the same," said Singh.

"We told the Americans that we are not backward. Our relations with America are good,
and we both need each other. Therefore, this has to be sorted out diplomatically," he said.

Last month, India withdrew some of the special privileges given to US diplomats including replacing identity cards with those with exact replicas of cards provided to Indian consulate officials in the US.

Also, US consular staff will only be permitted to import their requirements during the first six months of assuming office as provided in the Vienna Convention whereas earlier, they were allowed to import their requirements during the three-year period of their tenure.

The ban on duty-free import of liquor and food by the US embassy also continues. The traffic barricades in front of the US embassy were also removed last month.

A U.S. court has rejected Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's plea seeking one-month extension of the deadline for a preliminary hearing, the date by which she has to be indicted in a visa fraud case.

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected Khobragade's plea.

The court said an indictment or information charging the defendant with the commission of an offence must be filed within 30 days of the date of the defendant's arrest or service of a summons in connection with such charges.

It said, since Khobragade was arrested on December 12, she must be indicted by January 13.

Khobragade's lawyer Daniel Arshack had sought an extension of the indictment deadline by a month.

He said that the pressure of the deadline is interfering with the ability of the parties to have meaningful discussions on the issue.

Manhattan District Attorney Preet Bharara had, however, opposed the extension of the deadline, saying that the plea discussions can continue even after she is charged.

--ANI (Posted on 09-01-2014)

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