Amid the row over the arrest and strip search of Deputy Consul General in New York Devyani Khobragade, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh on Friday said the US should extend courtesies to Indian diplomats on par with what are enjoyed by their American counterparts in India.
"We expect our diplomat to be given exactly the same courtesies that we extend to American diplomats or diplomat of any other country," Singh said.
Criticising the action against Khobragade by the US authorities, she said the way the senior diplomat was treated was not acceptable.
"You do not treat an Indian diplomat in this manner whether its in the US or any other country," she said when asked about the issue at a function here.
39-year-old Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer posted as Deputy Consul General in New York, was taken into custody last week on visa fraud charges as she was dropping her daughter to school before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.
Khobragade was put through both strip and cavity searches, procedures normally used for criminals, evoking a sharp reaction from India.
India yesterday demanded that the case against senior Khobragade be dropped unconditionally. It had on Tuesday taken a slew of retaliatory steps to strip US diplomats and their families of privileges including withdrawing all airport passes and stopping import clearances for the US embassy.
On India's reaction, Singh said the country has always shown "spine" to protect national interests since Independence.
"India has shown spine at everything we have done since our Independence in 1947, including our own foreign policy making, whether it is on non-alignment, whether it is on Bangladesh or on any other issue.
"Whether it is our economic policies or any other issue, we have followed our own path determined by our national interest and how we see the world and we continue to do so," she said.