Uttam Khobragade, father of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, and her sister sit in a car outside the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India, Jan. 10, 2014. Devyani Khobragade, the Indian woman diplomat expelled by the United States, arrived in the Indian capital Friday night from New York, said local TV channel NDTV. (Xinhua/Partha Sarkar)
NEW DELHI, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The diplomatic standoff between India and the U.S. seems to have finally ended, with New Delhi expelling an American diplomat Friday just hours after an Indian woman diplomat was indicted in a New York court on charges of visa fraud and underpaying her maid and also ordered to leave that country.
The row erupted in December last year after Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York, was arrested and strip- searched in the U.S. on accusations she denied.
Experts say the tit-for-tat move by India after Khobragade was asked to leave the U.S. has brought closure to the row between the two countries, with Washington not having to apologise for her arrest and New Delhi keeping a brave face ahead of the general elections slated for May this year.
"With her arrival in the Indian capital last night, the issue seems to have settled down. It's a win-win situation for both the countries. New Delhi can claim it has secured the release of Khobragade, and Washington can insist that the law took its own course in the U.S. as a court in New York indicted her on two charges," said Delhi-based foreign affairs expert K.K. Roy.
Even the U.S. Friday expressed hope that the matter would now come to a close.
"We deeply regret that the Indian government felt it was necessary to expel one of our diplomatic personnel. This has clearly been a challenging time in U.S.-India relationship. We expect and hope this will now come to closure and the Indians will take significant steps with us to improve our relationship and return it to a more constructive place," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
India had earlier refused to waive the full diplomatic immunity Khobragade was accorded in the U.S. after she was shifted to India 's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, following the incident.
"The U.S. first granted her full diplomatic immunity after she was shifted to the United Nations. Then it asked India to waive it, which was declined, before the woman diplomat was indicted in a court there and asked to leave America. This shows that both the countries worked hard for a middle-path solution to end the month- long diplomatic spat," another expert, Prof Ajay Singh, said.
However, the charges against 39-year-old Khobragade will remain and she will have to face trial if she returns to the U.S. without diplomatic immunity, American Attorney Preet Bharara has reportedly said in a letter to District Judge Shira Scheindlin.
According to the experts, the U.S. can't afford to antagonise India for long.
"The U.S. considers India, the world's largest democracy, as a natural fit to become its special partner and it has also been seeking closer strategic ties with New Delhi given its decision to withdraw its forces from war-ravaged Afghanistan by this year-end. India has presence in Afghanistan and the U.S. is aware of New Delhi's role there. So, it did compromise to a middle-path solution," Roy said.
Khobragade's arrest triggered a diplomatic row between India and America. While New Delhi claims her arrest was illegal according to Vienna Convention, the U.S. insists she did not have full diplomatic immunity as a consular official at the time.
As a retaliatory move, India had downgraded privileges of U.S. diplomats posted in this country and removed security barricades outside the American embassy, apart from asking it to stop commercial activities and shut down a club on the embassy premises.
BEIJING, Jan. 11 (Xinhuanet) --Washington confirms it will withdraw one of its Diplomats from New Delhi at India’s request. It comes after Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was indicted in New York for Visa Fraud. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington hopes this case will now come to a close and India will take significant steps to improve their relationship and return it to a more constructive place.
Meanwhile, the female Indian diplomat, whose arrest and strip search caused a major rift in US-Indian ties, has arrived in New Delhi. According to the local TV channel NDTV, Devyani Khobragade returned on an Air India passenger plane on Friday night from New York. Full story
NEW DELHI, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Devyani Khobragade, the Indian woman diplomat expelled by the United States, arrived in the Indian capital on an Air India passenger plane Friday night from New York, said local TV channel NDTV.
India Friday also expelled a U.S. diplomat in retaliation against the arrest, humiliation and expulsion by the U.S. od Khobragade, former vice consul general of the Indian Consulate General In New York. Full story