Amazing what a threat to stop US businessmen from enjoying luxury club facilities provided by the State Department in New Delhi, India will do!
In a diary yesterday, I described the escalation in sanctions against US diplomats in India that were being proposed in retaliation to the arrest and strip search of an Indian diplomat in New York. Special airport passes and diplomatic ID cards had already been withdrawn by India. Security barriers around the embassy had been removed. The Indian government had then announced that US diplomats there would only enjoy the same privileges as theirs do in the USA. That meant they would not longer be immune from traffic offences such as running red lights or illegal parking. That however was unlikely to have been treated as much of a threat given that the State Department regularly refuses to pay such fines or fees including, for example, the London Congestion Charge or parking fines there. The State Department also appeared indifferent to the consequences of poorer trade relations having already cancelled a planned visit by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
The other sanction announced by India was the order to close the American Community Support Association club at the New Delhi embassy as they had violated the Vienna Convention (on diplomatic relations) by offering membership at $1200 a year to US non-diplomats. It appears that having to endure the summer heat without benefit of the restaurant, bar, tennis court, bowling alley and swimming pool was too much to contemplate. The British Raj abandoned Delhi in the hottest months and decamped to various hill towns. Without that option, on Thursday the empasse was suddenly resolved by the US.
After Devyani Khobragade was formally indited by a Grand Jury in New York, prosecutors immediately announced the affair was over:
(She) had also been granted immunity and that US officials had asked her to leave the country.Looks like US diplomatic influence is now more shtick than "big stick"!
Prosecutors initially said she had already left but were later told by her lawyer that she was still in the US.