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Mending Fences
Not the Right Time for a Fight with India

Just as relations between India and the United States appeared to be cooling, a second indictment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade over her visa fraud case is renewing rancor in New Delhi:

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin described as an “unnecessary step” a U. S. Department of Justice office opting for a second indictment despite the fact that the first, January 9 indictment and arrest warrant were dismissed earlier this week.

“Any measures consequent to this decision in the U.S., will unfortunately impact upon efforts on both sides to build the India-U.S. strategic partnership, to which both sides are committed,” he said. “Therefore, this second indictment has no impact on our stated position.” Now that Dr. Khobragade had returned home, the court in the U.S. would have no jurisdiction in India over her, Mr. Akbaruddin said.

President Obama should bring this matter to a close. The U.S. should hold fast to the point that in this country the maid and the employer are both under the same law, but at the same time it should recognize that the relationship with India is also important.

One way out: the President can issue a pardon to Khobragade, ending any legal processes against her and making it clear that he is doing it out of respect for India as an important country and a great power.

At the same time, he should do something for the maid: Give her a green card, and perhaps work with a private foundation to help her and her family get an education and a fresh start in the United States. Justice would be done, in the sense that the U.S. will have made its point about immigration laws. U.S. and Indian diplomats would then be free to work behind the scenes to develop appropriate procedures so this kind of thing doesn’t happen in the future. And the domestic worker would end up compensated for her problems as well as having the prospect of a much better life ahead. American principles and values asserted, American interests served.

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  • Atanu Maulik

    out of respect for India as an important country and a great power.____India is a not a great power. India is a third world shithole with a space program. Treat the Indian diplomat just like an ordinary criminal that she is. Rich corrupt thugs in India are not used to the rule of law being applied to them. Teach them a lesson.

    • vrichards

      India is home to a large population of youngsters, which is growing. Provided they do not vote the current criminal congress government to power again, they should comfortably enjoy 8 percent growth for the next 20 years. This will improve living standards significantly and create wealth in india. Your comments only expose your ignorance and stupidity.

      • El Gringo

        So merely having a large population of young people is the path to economic success? Ah! That explains the brilliant success of the Arab Spring. Not to mention the booming economies of Sub-Saharan Africa.

        • vrichards

          I am not going to explain any more logic to you. U can sray ignorant.

      • Atanu Maulik

        800 million people living on less than $2 a day, half the children under 5 yrs malnourished and grossly underweight, less than 15 % of the population graduating from high school, more bomb blast last year than Afghanistan. India will be the first superpower in history which can neither feed its citizens nor protect them. Maybe you should educate yourself first before joining these type of discussions. Otherwise you will only embarrass yourself in public.

  • Andrew Allison

    The Indian Governmet does not have clean hands in this affair, having transferred the lady to a position with broader diplomatic immunity the day before the indictment was handed down.

  • mgoodfel

    WRM, many people already complain that there’s one legal system if you are rich, with lots of appeals and courtesy, and another one if you are poor, with threats to jail you for years if you even try for a trial.

    Forgiving her because of diplomatic considerations would be more of the same. And aren’t we the country that lectures third world nations on the importance of rule of law? Do we really want more of Obama taking the law into his own hands?

  • vrichards

    Just FYI. Nobody in india wud believe that the maid wuz treated like a slave. The maid wanted a path to immigrate to usa. She had even made her intentions clear early on. What is troubling is the propaganda that the diplomat has commited some grave crime. People in india are noting the fact that not one media outlet has tried to understand the viewpoint of the indian side. This is very troubling. The US does not appear trustworthy based on its actions in this episode.

    • Jagneel

      Typical indian middle class attitude.
      Those who know india, knowcaste system has trained Indians from birth to treat servants like cattle.
      Mrs K is IFS officer ji, hai u know hard the exams are ji. And mrs Richards, these people always do this ji. She happy to take job and live in umreeka. What she has to complain about.
      $3.31 per hour, that’s like 200 rupees. Hmm. USA wants this haramjadi $10 per hr. What a loot.
      Mrs K is treated like a common criminal. Why don’t they do what we Indians do? Treat only poor people as common criminal, guilty or not Jana do. Bhabi, laws are not for high officers. Laws meant only for these chote log.

      • vrichards

        The khobragade lady was part of the group of people that is an example of all that is wrong in indian government. But that does not exonerate the misbehavior of us state department.

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