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Did India behave responsibly in the diplomat case ?

Did India behave “diplomatically” in the recent case surrounding the arrest of the Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade ? A recent article from the Washington Post points to the sheepish behavior of the Indian authorities over the incident and how it could have been dealt in a more “diplomatic” way.

India did not behave like a great power

Devyani Khobragade - Indian Diplomat in US arrested

Devyani Khobragade - Indian Diplomat in US arrested

In his article , Washington Post’s author Max Fisher has indicated that India has failed to behave like a “great power” which it wants other countries to recognize itself as, and instead has resorted to petty measures to show protest against the United States.

Indian Government keeps itself busy by punishing US diplomats

Fisher indicates that the Indian government ruling over the 1.2 billion Indian citizens is keeping itself busy by punishing the US diplomats with its sheepish looking measures such as removing the concrete barricades against the US embassy in India, banning the liquor imports from the US for its diplomats in India and starting enquiry against the alleged gay spouses of the US diplomats staying in India.

Protests against Devyani arrest - (c) Reuters

Protests against Devyani arrest - (c) Reuters

Though Fisher points out that it “strip-searching a foreign deputy consul is also very bad diplomacy”, he argues that the Indian government, which frequently talks about getting the rest of the world to recognize their country as a world power, should have used more powerful diplomatic measures to show its protest rather than resorting to these petty measures.

Preet Bharara

Preet Bharara, the US attorney issued a statement that Devyani was “accorded courtesies well beyond what other defendants, most of whom are American citizens, are accorded.” This statement was in shark contrast to the concern expressed by the US Secretary of State John Kerry. Later it was reported in the media that Senior US official Wendy Sherman had spoken with the Indian officials and distanced the US government with the statements of Preet Bharara.

The row

Devyani Khobragade

Devyani Khobragade

The row is related to the arrest of an Indian diplomat in the US – Devyani Khobragade – who was arrested on charges of paying very low wages ( around $535 a year ) to her domestic help. Devyani had allegedly declared a false statement in the Visa forms, claiming that she was paying much higher wages to her maid. She was arrested as the minimum wage in New York city area is at $9.95 per hour, while allegedly Devyani was paying around $3.3 per hour.

Devyani was reported as being arrested on the street, after she dropped her kid in the school. Following this it was reported that Devyani had to undergo “strip-searching” and “cavity searching” and was detained in the cell along with hookers and drug trafickers. This report had enraged the Indians. Many Indian politicians have come out in the public criticizing the man-handling of the Indian diplomat in the US, who is supposed to be under the diplomatic immunity.

Following the protests from the general public, the Indian government had also resorted to measures showing protest against the incident. External affairs minister Salman Khurshid condemned the arrest and demanded the case to be withdrawn. Security barricades against the US embassy in India were removed and the ID cards of the US diplomats were recovered for inspection.

Protest against US diplomat arrest (c) Deccan Chronicle

Protest against US diplomat arrest (c) Deccan Chronicle



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