India-US row: Voices from the streets

Al Jazeera English, December 20, 2013

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

AlJazeeraThe recent arrest and subsequent treatment meted out to Khobragade has thrown another challenge at the India-US bilateral relationship which has been going through a trough.

Given the meek nature of Indian responses to earlier such incidents involving former officials and diplomats including former President Abdul Kalam and Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar, not many in the US would have anticipated the nature and extent of Indian response.

Clearly, India seems to be pursuing a ‘tit for tat’ strategy by withdrawing privileges extended to the US consular staff and other officials bringing them at par with the courtesies extended to Indian officials in the US. Especially given the fact that India is one of US’s closest strategic allies, such responses are useful in conveying India’s displeasure to the US administration. However, it is important that such responses do not result in any unintended lasting damage to the bilateral relationship.

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