Friday, April 18, 2014

Lessons Learned From the US-India Row

Ulson Gunnar 
April 18, 2014 

In December 2013, Indian Foreign Service officer Devyani Khobragade was arrested, strip-searched and detained in the United States while serving out her diplomatic duties as India’s deputy Consul-General. As a high ranking diplomat with 15 years of service within India’s Foreign Service, her treatment by US authorities triggered tensions between the two nations who were perceived by many to be stalwart allies.

The London Telegraph’s January 2014 article, “India asks US to withdraw diplomat as row escalates,” describes just how acute the row was. India physically removed security barriers in front of the US Embassy in India, revoked privileges previously enjoyed by US diplomats serving in India, and asked the US to withdraw one official from its embassy in New Delhi in retaliation for their expulsion of Khobragade from America. Additionally, several Indian politicians canceled meetings with their American counterparts in protest.

Currently, tensions seem to be slowly easing, but the event is still reverberating through both Indian and American political circles. The US persecutor who set out against Khobragade is now in the news again, this time facing off against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – apparently building a name for himself, using the humiliation and legal run-through of Khobragade as a stepping stone. It exposes an ugly and increasingly common aspect of American culture that derives pleasure and perceived “progress” from tearing others down. It is one of many lessons onlookers can learn from watching this row unfold.

Lesson #1: America is A Police State Out of Control