India awaits info from US embassy, will take action: Khurshid

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Khurshid awaiting US embassy for info
New Delhi, Feb 5: India will take "necessary" action in the reports of alleged tax and visa violations by the American Embassy School here, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here on Wednesday.

Noting that the government has sought information from the American Embassy School to examine compliance with relevant Indian laws by the School and its employees, the minister, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, said it will "take necessary action accordingly in this matter".

After the arrest of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in December in New York on charges of visa fraud, India took a number of steps including withdrawing extra privileges of US diplomats posted in the country. The episode also led to intense scrutiny of activities of the US Embassy and other American institutions by the government here.

Apart from stripping the US diplomats of extra privileges, the government also asked the US to withdraw one of its senior diplomats from the Embassy here for being "closely involved in the processes relating to the Khobragade case and subsequent unilateral action by the US".

Khurshid said the manner in which Khobragade was arrested contravened the privileges and immunities provided to diplomats under the Vienna Convention and that the issue has been raised with the US Government, which claims that the Vienna Convention was not violated from their perspective, arguing that "standard procedures" were followed.

Since there are evidently differing perspectives on both sides on the issue of diplomatic privileges and immunities, both countries have agreed to initiate a dialogue to comprehensively address all aspects related to diplomatic immunities and privileges in a mutually acceptable manner, so as to avoid recurrence of such instances, he said.

"The discussions will be held as soon as a mutually agreed agenda and convenient dates for the meeting are finalized," the minister said.

PTI

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