Expulsion of a senior American diplomat from India will not affect bilateral ties, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said even though he asserted that if the US takes any step New Delhi would also take "suitable action".
"The expulsion of senior US diplomat from India will not affect bi-lateral ties with the US. But if the US takes any step, India would also take suitable action," Khurshid told reporters here yesterday.
On Friday, India expelled a senior US diplomat in retaliation for the expulsion of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested and strip searched for allegedly underpaying her maid.
Arrest of Khobragade had led to tense diplomatic stand-off between the two countries which saw the US finally approving her accreditation to the UN which gave her full immunity against partial immunity she had in her position as deputy consul general at the time of her arrest.
Khobragade was told by the US to leave that country immediately after India refused to waive her diplomatic immunity to face trial.
In fast retaliation, New Delhi ordered the expulsion of an American diplomat of similar rank who was involved in arranging for the "evacuation" of three members of the maid's family from India two days before Khobragade was arrested.
On the fishermen issue, Khurshid said a high-level meeting would be held in Chennai on January 20 to consider matter of release of 300 fishermen held in Srilanka and simlar other Indian prisioners in other countries.
On the Prime ministerial candidate of Congress for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, he said the decision in this regard will be taken by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
"I think on the January 17 meet of Congress, it would be declared," he said.