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.