Diplomatic relations between the United States and India have hit a snag after an Indian diplomat was strip-searched in New York last week. Devyani Khobragade, an Indian consulate general employee, was charged with visa fraud and making false statements after allegedly submitting a false visa application for her housekeeper. India's National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon called the treatment "despicable and barbaric."
The U.S. Marshals Service admitted to the handling of Khobragade but maintained that they followed correct procedure in her arrest and detainment. Her lawyer, however, argues that she is protected from prosecution by diplomatic immunity. Khobragade has since been released on bail.
The dispute has since rippled across the globe to the U.S. embassy in New Delhi, where the Indian government began removing cement security barricades in front of the facility. While the embassy is also protected by a high wall, the barricades were a deterrent preventing vehicles from approaching at high speed.
India may also be reviewing the diplomatic immunity of American officials in the country.
The State Department released a statement on the matter which reads, in part:
We understand that this is a sensitive issue for many in India. Accordingly, we are looking into the intake procedures surrounding this arrest to ensure that all appropriate procedures were followed and every opportunity for courtesy was extended.
While this is a law enforcement issue and will need to be worked through standard procedures and official law enforcement channels, we will continue to work this issue with India in the spirit of partnership and cooperation that marks our broad bilateral relationship.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.