"Every meaningful partnership between powerful nations encounters setbacks. And, obviously, recent events have drawn more attention to our disagreements than to our cooperative efforts," National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in an apparent reference to the issue of the arrest of the Indian diplomat, which created tension between the two countries.
"But, those difficulties should be minor compared to the breadth of our relationship and the magnitude of what we can accomplish together," she said in her address to the Aspen Institute US-India Dialogue being held in Washington.
"We must also deal with our differences in a constructive manner, commensurate with a relationship of this importance. We cannot allow such challenges to derail the future we are working diligently to build a future of greater prosperity, greater security, and consistent adherence to our shared values," Rice said, reiterating the commitment of the Obama Administration to strengthen and deepen the bilateral relationship between the two largest democracies of the world.
Khobragade, 39, was arrested on December 12 on visa fraud charges, strip-searched and held with criminals, triggering a row between the two countries with India retaliating by downgrading privileges of certain category of US diplomats among other steps.
Khobragade was indicted on visa fraud and making false statements by a US grand jury. She returned to India after she was asked to leave the US by the State Department.
"The relationship between India and the United States can and should be, as President Obama has said many times, 'one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century'. And, as I've experienced firsthand, it can also be one of our most productive partnerships," she said.
Rice said she has built a productive relationship with her Indian counterpart Shivshankar Menon. Given the hard work done by the governments of the two countries in the last two decades, Rice exuded confidence that the India-US relationship would continue to grow irrespective of the outcome of the upcoming elections.
"For almost two decades, in both India and the United States, Presidents and Prime Ministers and political parties have come together and worked to overcome old schisms. Piece by piece, we're establishing a lasting partnership that's equipped to tackle today's global challenges.