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If you thought the Indian anger over the arrest and strip search of one of its female diplomats, Devyani Khobragade, had blown over, think again.

The court rejection of her request to extend the January 13 deadline for an initial hearing, to allow further diplomatic negotiations over her status, is making the lead story on the Times of India site. She has been transferred from the Indian Consulate in New York (which the State Department argues is not an embassy and therefore employees are not full diplomats) to the Indian mission to the UN. The US State department is playing silly buggers over this:

Her paperwork was processed immediately by the United Nations and was sent to the state department on December 20. The process normally takes a few days, but in this case it is into its third week now.
India has already withdrawn special airport passes and diplomatic ID cards issued to US diplomats. The Gulf News reports that India is turning up the pressure on US diplomats and granting them only the same immunities their diplomats enjoy in the USA. They are applying the same rule as the US is applying to Khobragade, "immunity is limited to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions".

India has now gone one stage further and ordered the US embassy to close its recreation club.

On Wednesday, the Press Trust of India news agency reported that India ordered the US to stop all “commercial activities” by January 16 at the American Community Support Association club. The club has a restaurant, bar, bowling alley, swimming pool and other amenities.

India says the fact that non-diplomats can join the club, at a cost of more than $1,300 (Dh4,774) per year, violates the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

US diplomats will also no longer be immune from traffic offences such as running red lights and illegal parking.

The USA has a roughly $20 billion (2011) trade deficit with India and this article by a CEO of a software company in Boston explains some of the reasons why:

Most American small and medium companies know India as a country for off-shoring software development or call center services, and largely ignore other opportunities to do business in India or partner with Indian companies.
Because U.S. companies do not show much interest in attending the conference, there were only a handful of American companies represented. However, global business moves forward without American participation and I am sure the U.S. missed out on opportunities.

As a result of the government policies, India’s trade with the second and third world is growing fast. In many cases technology solutions developed in India for the domestic market are better suited for the developing world than leading edge technology from the West. For example, because only a small percentage of the 893 million (that is not a misprint!) mobile users in India owns smart phones, some really creative mobile solutions have been built around SMS technology. These Indian solutions are a much better fit for the developing world than the latest US mobile apps technology.

The above figure by the way excludes imports to the USA from companies based outside India but owned by companies from India. Range Rover and Jaguar vehicles are both made by companies now owned by Tata, a huge multi-national based in Mumbai. Their North American Chemicals division has its headquarters in New Jersey and a mining operation in the Green River basin in Wyoming. The group's steel operation has had to reconfigure its production in the UK to provide specialist products in imperial measurements for the USA. It's North American subsidiary is based in Schaumburg (Chicago), Illinois.

Just using the (albeit very large) company as an example, you can see the importance of maintaining and building good trade and commercial relations between the USA and India. Tata clearly feel they can "do business" with the UK whereas it appears reluctant to invest in the USA to provide products for the US market. Part of an embassy's trade mission is to promote business between the host and home countries. Without such good relations but with the poor perception of the USA by the ordinary Indians, there is a real risk of a further increase in that trade deficit.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 11:19:29 PM PST

  •  It's one of the more shocking issues (3+ / 0-)

    …highlighting the rogue US Police State situation.

    I believe that after the nations of the world represented at the UN discovered a few months ago that their delegate rooms were bugged by the NSA, destroying the trust and terms of the treaty signed by the US in 1945 promising to never do something as depraved as that -- it has sped up three important priorities for the rest of the world:

    1:  Divert all digital communications and internet activity outside the US and marginalize it to the full extent possible.

    2:  Move the UN to a nation that can be trusted with secure oversights.

    3:  Reject the corrupt US Dollar as the world's trading currency.

    This would be the best outcome for USians, who will find their freedoms will re-emerge once the US is neutered as a super-power

  •  Interesting situation from both sides (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, fladem

    From US, minimum wage laws should be sacrosanct.

    From India, Geneva convention should be sacrosanct.

    Also interesting that the prosecutor (Preet Bharara) is of Indian origin.

    Shall we go? Yes, let's go.

    by whenwego on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:36:10 AM PST

    •  It's not about minimum wage (8+ / 0-)

      I really doubt that the US would care that much if it was just a case of someone being paid a bit below the minimum wage.

      The issue is that the diplomat lied on the Visa application for the servant, and then forced them to work as an indentured servant. The US is viewing it as of people smuggling and treating it accordingly

      The US State department is playing silly buggers over this:
      Good. Promoting someone to be a diplomat after they have been accused of a serious crime in an obvious attempt to avoid the law is a pretty serious abuse of diplomatic immunity.
      Tata clearly feel they can "do business" with the UK whereas it appears reluctant to invest in the USA to provide products for the US market.
      Which I'm sure is totally unrelated to the fact that the USA has stronger laws against bribery compared to the UK. Absolutely unrelated.

      Good, quick, cheap. Choose two.

      by Danack on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:13:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure trade is a reason to look the other (9+ / 0-)

    way on human trafficking in the US.

    •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, Rich in PA, kurt

      I am Indian and I support Preet Bharara. One could argue about the methods used, but what he did was right because many Indian workers are facing a similar situation to the maid who lodged a complaint.

      I hope that the Indian diplomat is transferred without embarrassing the rest of the Indian community. This should never have been a controversy: I wish the AG's office were a bit more sensitive to the diplomat. Having said that, I have seen drivers from the Indian embassy routinely run the light under diplomatic immunity, it might have been building up for a while.

      So, this time despite the outcry in India, US is on the right side of the law: protecting the rights of an immigrant worker. What I was truly hoping for was that the socialists back home took the side of the maid.

  •  I'm not sure this is bad (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, lexalou, kurt
    Most American small and medium companies know India as a country for off-shoring software development or call center services, and largely ignore other opportunities to do business in India or partner with Indian companies.
    Too many American jobs have been off-shored to India, and not just low skill jobs. How many times have we heard about American IT workers being forced to train their Indian replacements before being laid off from companies like IBM?  How many American call centers have been off-shored to India?

    This is one of the reasons US wages are stagnant, the middle class is struggling, and unemployment continues to be such a big problem - multinational corporations who care more about the bottom line than about their employees.

    Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    by bear83 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:41:30 AM PST

  •  It's entirely a story of entitlement. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MGross, Turbonerd, FarWestGirl, kurt

    And not our imperialist entitlement, for once!  Khobragade is wealthy and well-connected, and she has been tied to scandal there already. (Google "Khobragade Adarsh scam") These things are papered over routinely in India so you can understand her shock, and the shock and disgust of her fellow elites back home, that something as trivial as lying on a form and underpaying a servant would be an issue here.  Really, non-ironically, you can understand their reaction--it's something totally alien to them.  Frankly the best gambit would simply be to PNG her out of the country, but she married an American  so that's problematic.  By the way, marrying a host-country national is something that a not-so-well-connected Indian diplomat could never do except at the cost of losing their job, but like I said before, there are no rules if you're well-heeled.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:02:36 AM PST

  •  A great thing about living in the world's sole (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    superpower: A major nation is totally pissed at us and going all out to anooy us and our State Department.
       But most Americans don't know about it and even fewer care.

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