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India cancels energy talks with US

Updated: 2014-01-09 21:31
( Xinhua)

NEW DELHI - India Thursday put on hold an energy dialogue with the United States in an apparent escalation of the ongoing diplomatic stand-off between the two countries over the arrest of an Indian woman diplomat in New York last year on charges of visa fraud and underpaying her maid.

"The energy talks between India and the scheduled for next week in the national capital have been indefinitely postponed on the insistence of New Delhi. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has been compelled to cancel his trip following the development," the sources said.

This came a day after India asked the United States to stop by next week commercial activities and shut down a club on its embassy premises in the national capital.

India wants the United States back down on the case of Devyani Khobragade, the former Indian deputy consul general in New York, who was arrested in December last year, strip-searched and slapped with charges of visa fraud and underpaying her maid, which carry a maximum punishment of up to 15 years in jail.

While India has demanded an apology from the United States over her "illegal" arrest and wants the woman diplomat -- already shifted to this country's Permanent Mission to the United Nations - - be immediately given the State Department card to ensure full diplomatic immunity, Washington seems to be silent.

The United States had earlier said that Khobragade's arrest was not illegal as she didn't have full diplomatic immunity as a consular official at the time of the incident.

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