U.S. Embassy in India seeks deadline extension

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The U.S. Embassy in India Monday sought an extension of deadline to file visa and other key details of people employed by it or by its consulates in this country, sources said.

The Indian government last week asked American diplomats and consulate staff to submit their ID cards by December 23, following the arrest and strip-search of Indian woman diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York on December 12 on charges of visa fraud and underpaying her maid.

The tough stand was taken by the government to show that India means business and the new ID cards of U.S. diplomats and consular staff would be based on reciprocity, the sources said, adding the Americans will now enjoy only what their Indian counterparts do in the U.S.

The issue has sparked a major diplomatic row between India and the U.S. with the former asking for an apology from Washington while the latter refusing to drop charges against the woman diplomat.

Khobragade, Deputy Consul General in New York, was arrested over allegations that she paid her domestic helper a small fraction of New York's minimum wage and even lied about her own salary in a visa application. She was later released on 250,000 U. S. dollars bail.

The 39-year-old diplomat has been recently shifted to India's permanent mission in the United Nations in order to ensure full diplomatic immunity. As a senior consular official, she had immunity limited to her consular work.

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