(Adds U.S. comment, background)
NEW DELHI Jan 22 The United States and India
could soon reschedule a visit by the U.S. energy secretary that
was cancelled because of a diplomatic row, New Delhi said after
foreign minister Salman Khurshid met his counterpart U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday.
"Both sides looked forward to the early realization of the
mutually-agreed calendar of bilateral exchanges," India's
foreign ministry said in a statement after the two men met in
Montreux, Switzerland, on the sidelines of a Syrian peace
The statement mentioned a visit by Ernest Moniz, the U.S.
energy secretary, who postponed his trip to India earlier this
month because of a dispute over the arrest and strip search of
an Indian diplomat in New York on charges of visa fraud and
lying about how much she paid her housekeeper.
The meeting between Kerry and Khurshid was the highest level
exchange since the spat.
In December, Kerry expressed regret for the incident in a
phone call to India's National Security Adviser. He also tried
to call Khurshid, but could not reach him.
No firm timeline was given for Moniz's trip to India.
"They discussed their shared commitment to moving the
relationship forward and returning to close partnerships on
strategic, security and economic issues," a senior State
Department official said, describing the meeting between the two
men as brief.
The dispute plunged ties between the friendly nations to the
lowest point in 16 years before a deal was struck and the
diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, returned to India.
Relations have still not returned to normal, and Khurshid
made a point of questioning Kerry about the use of visas
reserved for human trafficking cases to evacuate the
housekeeper's husband and children from India.
The statement also said "outstanding issues" related to
privileges and immunities of diplomats in both countries were
India sharply curtailed privileges granted to U.S. diplomats
stationed in the country after the arrest, to bring them on a
par with the treatment of Indian diplomats in the United States.
(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel in New Delhi and Lesley
Wroughton in Montreux; Editing by Marguerita Choy)