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How Indian Diplomat row in US could be resolved?

A serious diplomatic row broke out between India and the US over the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the New York on 12 December 2013.

The 39-year-old Ms Khobragade, Deputy Consul General at the Indian Consulate in New York, was publicly arrested and handcuffed. She was also allegedly stripped searched and kept in a cell with drug addicts. However, a spokesperson for the US State department said that standard procedures were followed during Ms Khobragade's arrest.

The US charged the diplomat of allegedly presented a fraudulent document to the US Department of State in support of a visa application for an Indian national employed as a babysitter and housekeeper at her home in New York. This actually was a violation of the US laws and therefore the Indian diplomat was arrested.

An outraged Indian government took a series of measures in retaliation. Security barricades outside the US embassy in New Delhi were removed. New Delhi downgraded the special privileges given to American diplomats in India.

US diplomats in consulates across India were asked to surrender identity cards issued to them and their families, which entitle them to special privileges. India also withdrew all airport passes for consulates and import clearances for the embassy.

India also asked for details like salaries paid to Indian staff employed in US consulates, including those working as domestic helps with the families of American officials. Since US consulates are US territory so it was ascertained whether Indian workers were paid American wages.

Thankfully this diplomatic row was resolved after India moved Ms Khobragade to its UN Mission. In the protracted negotiations that followed better sense prevailed and the Indian diplomat was brought back to the country.

India and the United States enjoy a broad and deep friendship, and this isolated episode is not indicative of the close and mutually respectful ties the two countries share with each other.

Shivangi Rajani

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