The dispute between India and the United States over an Indian diplomat’s “mistreatment” at the hands of U.S. police is getting worse. Yesterday, India requested that the U.S. embassy in Delhi stop commercial activities at a well-known club that has a bowling alley and swimming pool and other amenities. The Indian authorities also said that U.S. vehicles would not be immune to traffic offenses anymore. Then the U.S. Energy Secretary, after a “conversation with Indian counterparts,” canceled a planned trip to India, becoming the second American official to postpone a visit there.Nearly a month has passed since U.S. police arrested an Indian diplomat for allegedly underpaying her nanny and lying on a visa application, but the still simmering dispute is starting to sour relations across the board between the world’s two largest democracies. Though diplomats from both countries say they want to come to a mutually suitable agreement, observers and former diplomats are worried it could spin out of control on a scale not seen since India tested a nuclear weapon in 1998.There are a number of reasons why this dispute rankles in India. For decades, some quarters of the Indian establishment, especially the old guard of India’s anti-colonialist, left-wing elite, have disliked the idea of a close relationship between New Delhi and Washington. Also, the tiny Indian Foreign Service is keen to present India to the world as a great and important power. For a diplomat to be strip-searched for a crime that would be laughed off as nothing in the subcontinent is simply unacceptable. Indian nationalists also score points and gain legitimacy as defenders of Indian interests worldwide by making a fuss with the United States.Both sides need to put this issue to bed as soon as possible. The hearing for the accused diplomat is coming up in the next few days. For the United States, it’s important to balance the concerns of foreign diplomats, especially those representing important allies, with the priorities of justice and law enforcement. But the goal here is not to win an argument; the goal is to form a deep and trusting relationship with India, a country vital to America’s economic and security interests in Asia.