Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Row Over Devyani Khobragade, Deputy Consul General of India

I have Louisville friends with family ties to India as well as numerous Internet friends who live in India. When I first read of the arrest, and especially the strip-search, of Ms. Devyani Khobragade, Deputy Consul General of the nation of India in New York, I was appalled. Now I am angry at the U.S. State and Justice Departments continue to push the case regarding “making false statements on a visa application” against her.

The situation is much more complex than it appears at the surface. While few in the United States have expressed any concern about the incident, anger has exploded in India leading to various forms of retribution taken again U.S. diplomats in India. The best exposition of the affair that I have located on the Internet is by The Indian ExpressEverything you need to know about Devyani Khobragade's story

I am and never have been a professional diplomat; however, my undergraduate major was diplomatic history, with courses taught be a U.S. diplomat who was present in 1945 when representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco to draw up the United Nations Charter. As a U.S. Army office in Germany, I was the battalion liaison with the German Landespolizei and worked out problems with the German authorities and soldiers in my battalion. 

As such, I am appalled that Deputy Consul General Khobragade was arrested, much less hand-cuffed and strip-searched. This is a breakdown caused primarily by inept bureaucrats in the United States State and Justice Departments. If you have read The Indian Express article referenced above, that this was a case on which the Indian side was in touch with the US authorities right from the start and that no one in the State Department paid any attention to the Indian concerns that the incident.  The Indian government conveyed to the State Department that this could be part of an immigration racket, given that Khobragade received offers of a settlement from a lawyer on behalf of her domestic help after she went missing.

I am also appalled that the United States has allowed this to deteriorate to the point that it is have negative affects on the relationship between Indian and the United States. The diplomatic row seems to be increasing each day (See the Reuters article, India tells U.S. to close embassy club; dispute exposes flaws in ties). Anger at the United States is increasing among the people of India because of the treatment of their diplomat. (See The Christian Science Monitor: An angry India pops the expat ‘bubble’ in Delhi).

Indians demonstrate outside the US Embassy in New Delhi
to protest against the  mistreatment of Devyani Khobragade

What is to be done to remedy this absurd situation? I believe that the United States must admit that our bureaucrats screwed up, take seriously and investigate the Indian allegation of an immigration plot hatched by the domestic worker and her husband. 

Before you decide yours, my I suggest one last article to read: The Christian Science MonitorWho's more wrong in row over Indian diplomat's treatment? It's complicated

1 comment:

  1. Very complicated and nasty. Thank you for all the links, SSN.