December 20, 2013

OUR DIPLOMACY IS GOING SWIMMINGLY: Angry India Pulls Back US Embassy Security.

In response to the alleged mistreatment of an Indian diplomat by American law enforcement officials, Indian authorities have taken a series of unprecedented steps to show their displeasure, including the removal of security barriers around the American embassy in New Delhi. . . .

Indian outrage over alleged mistreatment abroad is not new. It makes headlines every time celebrities like Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and author Rohinton Mistry, a Canadian of Indian origin, are detained at airports. But the Indian response this time seems a tad over the top. The incident has been described as “a slap in the face of the country”, “barbaric” and “humiliating.” A politician even said gay American diplomats’ partners may be subject to arrest under India’s homosexuality laws. India has also downgraded American diplomats’ privileges and told them to turn in their identity cards. Both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, normally on opposite sides of the political spectrum, refused to meet an American congressional delegation that was visiting.

Rhetoric is one thing, but American diplomats should be concerned to see that India has removed security barriers around the American embassy in New Delhi. Apart from compromising their security, the move may also contravene the Vienna Convention that reinforces host countries’ responsibility to protect diplomats.

India is in the wrong here. But they’ve been paying attention and realize that there’s no cost to screwing with the United States now, and it plays well with the electorate, which apparently is less concerned that their ambassador was essentially keeping a slave. Well, anti-slavery is just another white, western imperialist value, I guess.