Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ICYMI World News: Indian diplomat returns home after arrest in NY

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade who was arrested last December in the United States on charges of visa fraud, returned to Mumbai on Tuesday. News outlets reported that Khobragade said she was very happy to return home and thanked supporters.

Khobragade, 39, who was India's deputy consul-general in New York, was arrested in December on charges of visa fraud and lying to U.S. authorities on what she paid her housekeeper (read previous post here). Her arrest and subsequent strip search outraged officials in India and dealt a blow to U.S.-India ties.

Last Friday, Khobragade returned to her native country following a deal that let her leave the United States after being indicted by a federal grand jury. News outlet ANI reported that India, too, expelled a U.S. diplomat in retaliation against Khobragade's arrest. India ordered an unnamed American diplomat of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi to leave within 48 hours. The diplomat is the same rank as Khobragade and is believed to be involved in manipulating the case against Khobragade, ANI reported.

Time magazine columnist Ishaan Tharoor wrote this morning that the impasse ended after the U.S. accepted Khobragade's right to immunity, but immediately requested it be waived because of the existing case against her. New Delhi's predicted refusal of that request led to her forced departure from New York. Tharoor asserts that analysts warn of the damage that has been done to ties between the two countries. His essay points to the negative treatment of Indian officials here, American bullying and lack of respect and American officials are pulling out of travel arrangements to India.

Despite all that's occurred, the countries are both democracies and share a fundamental partnership. Let's hope this incident will subside without further damage to our relations with India.

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