US expresses 'regret' over Indian diplomat strip search incident

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US expresses 'regret' over Indian diplomat strip search incident

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The US has expressed regret over the case of an Indian diplomat strip-searched after her arrest in New York last week, which sparked a diplomatic row.

The woman had been charged of visa fraud and allegedly lying about how much she paid her housekeeper.

India has been furious about what it considers the degrading treatment of a senior diplomat.

US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf read a statement from Secretary of State John Kerry:

“As a father of two daughters about the same age as Devyani Khobragade, the secretary empathizes with the sensitivities we are hearing from India about the events that unfolded after Ms. Khobragade’s arrest,” she said.

“In his conversation with National Security Advisor Menon, (Secretary Kerry) expressed his regret, as well as his concern that we not allow this unfortunate public issue to hurt our close and vital relationship with India,” Harf added.

Indian police had removed concrete security barriers outside the US Embassy in New Delhi on Tuesday in apparent retaliation.

The White House has told Indian officials it expects them to “fulfill all its obligations” for the safety and security of US diplomats in India.

Strip searching detainees is common practice in the US, however it has prompted challenges from civil liberty groups which are concerned the practice is degrading and unnecessary.