Sun, Feb 09, 2014 - Page 4 News List

US aide Rice says troubles should not derail US-India ties

STRAINED RELATIONS:A White House advisor has tried to smooth over the controversy over the arrest and strip-searching of an Indian diplomat in the US

Reuters, WASHINGTON

A top White House adviser attempted to smooth over troubled ties between the US and India on Friday, and said the two countries should not allow the dispute over an Indian diplomat to “derail the future we are working diligently to build.”

Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, was arrested on Dec. 12 on charges of visa fraud and lying to US authorities about what she paid her housekeeper.

Khobragade was strip-searched while detained in a Manhattan federal courthouse, an incident that triggered a major rift between India and the US.

The controversy interrupted what had been warming US-Indian relations as part of a US pivot toward Asia.

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, addressing the Aspen Institute US-India Dialogue, said recent events had drawn more attention to disagreements than cooperative efforts.

“But those difficulties should be minor compared to the breadth of our relationship and the magnitude of what we can accomplish together. We must also deal with our differences in a constructive manner, commensurate with a relationship of this importance,” she said.

The two countries cooperate on a wide range of issues including counterterrorism, regional security and defense.

India is also a major market for US weapons.

“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.

Rice also said the US is confident that, whatever the outcome of India’s upcoming national elections, the cooperation and strategic partnership between the two nations will continue to grow.

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