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Fuming India trims privileges of US diplomats
December 18, 2013, 9:08 am

Enough is enough and the Indian government has made it clear that it cannot take more from the United States.  It had only lodged official complain when the Defence Minister George Fernandez was strip searched and many of the VIPs were detained for questioning.

Furious with the US for the arrest and alleged strip search of its high-ranking diplomat Devyani Khobragade, New Delhi has retaliated with a slew of measures to pare down the privileges of American diplomats.

The Government has asked US diplomats in consulates across India to surrender identity cards issued to them and their families, which entitle them to special privileges. India has also withdrawn all airport passes for consulates and import clearances for the embassy.

The Delhi police removed barricades outside the sprawling US embassy in the capital.

Ms Khobragade was subjected to a humiliating strip search and was kept in a cell with drug addicts after her arrest for alleged visa fraud in New York last week. Noël Clay, a spokesperson for the US State Department that standard procedures had been followed during Ms Khobragade's arrest.

The US has implied that she enjoyed only limited immunity. As part of its reciprocal measures, India is asking for details like salaries paid to Indian staff employed in US consulates, including those working as domestic helps with the families of American officials.

New Delhi has also asked for the visa details of all teachers at US schools, details of their salary and their bank accounts.

Senior leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi have refused to meet a visiting US Congress delegation. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had also cancelled their meetings with the Americans.

Former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha has called for the arrest of all “companions” who have accompanied the diplomats in India as they belong to the same sex and hence it is a crime under the new verdict of the Supreme Court.

Indian lawmakers are united that the US must offer unconditional apology for the arrest of the Indian diplomat
Mr Menon has described Ms Khobragade's treatment as "despicable and barbaric".

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