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Tit for Tat Alone Will Discipline Americans

No leniency needs to be shown when the US is in no mood to make amends for the cruelty shown to Khobragade.

Published: 09th January 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th January 2014 01:08 AM   |  A+A-

A barking dog seldom bites. That seems to be the impression the US Embassy in India has formed about its host nation. It has been flouting every diktat from the Indian government since India-US diplomatic ties had taken a nosedive following the arrest and humiliation of India’s diplomat Devyani Khobragade. The incident still agitates most people in India because what the US law-enforcement agencies did to her was in wanton violation of all diplomatic norms and against all humanitarian considerations. In fact, every Indian citizen felt humiliated because she was representing the nation. That is precisely why they lapped up the retaliatory measures India has taken to redeem its honour.

Even in doing so, the government took care to ensure that its offensive conformed to the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations. For instance, while removing the traffic blockades in front of the US Embassy, security to the mission and its staff was not compromised. The government withdrew only those privileges which the US government was not extending to the staff at the Indian mission in the US. In fact, the American embassy staff were enjoying a slew of privileges and facilities—not covered by the Vienna Convention—that could be the envy of the royalty in many countries.

India had asked the Embassy for details of the Indians employed in its offices in India and the salary paid to them, which could be made available at the click of a computer button. Instead of complying with the order, it has allowed the deadline to expire on the specious plea that the Christmas and New Year holidays stood in the way. The government was well within its rights to ask the Embassy to stop screening of films. In its latest order, it has asked for the closing down of the club it has been running on its premises. The government should ensure that the Embassy complies with all its orders. No leniency needs to be shown when the US is in no mood to make amends for the cruelty shown to Khobragade.



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