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How Indian Diplomat row in US could be resolved?

The diplomatic row it is an argument not between individuals but two nations and can be resolved only by the two countries. Individuals can only have personal opinion on such issues.

This diplomatic row between the U.S and India started after India's deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade was arrested and strip searched for visa fraud case in New York. The case actually pertains to making false statements about the salary of the diplomat's domestic help.

This is not the first time such case is made out against officials at Indian Consulate in New York.

Earlier, it was Neena Malhotra who was asked by the court to pay $1.5 million to her domestic worker. Then it was Prabhu Dayal, Indian Consul General in New York who was charged in similar lines.

These are not isolated cases or India specific cases as there have also been various other foreign diplomats who have been accused for underpaying their domestic worker.

Various countries have tried to resolve such issue in different ways. Mauritius waived diplomatic immunity for its Ambassador who was charged with failing to pay minimum wages.

An Italian consulate official was sentenced to probation and fine. These examples clearly shows that the issue of diplomats beings accused is not limited to any specific country.

Indian government tried to resolve the issue in a manner acting tough showing its protest against unsavory behavior resorted by the U.S government against the Indian diplomat.

Indian government curtailed various facilities enjoyed by the US consulate staff stationed in India. The issue hogged global limelight and US had to mellow down its stand.

US secretary of state expressed regret the way Devyani was treated in New York. Later the US government issued her G1 visa granting full diplomatic immunity.

All this paved the way for Devyani to return to India. The issue was thus resolved but the case against her will remain in abeyance till US withdraws charges against her or she returns to the US face them.

In such situation, the right course could have been to follow the "Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations." The set articles laid down in the convention specially Article 29 clearly states that Diplomats shall not be liable to any formal arrest or detention. Article 31 gives diplomats immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State.

The US had unnecessarily dragged its feet into such a controversy. It could have avoided such unpleasant situation that momentarily strained India-US relationship.

Nonetheless, this isolated case may have little bearing on warm relationship between the two countries.

A.Hari Chandana

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