By: Jenna Baranko
The arrest, strip-search and brief incarceration of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade last month sparked international outrage, including widespread protests in India, and created tension between U.S.-India relations. A federal grand jury indicted Khobragade on January 9, 2014 in New York on charges of visa fraud and making false statements regarding her housekeeper Sangeeta Richard. The charges allege that Khobragade paid Richard as little as $3.31 an hour, despite promising to pay her $9.75 an hour on her visa application, accusations which Khobragade denies. Following Khobragade’s indictment, the State Department allowed her to return to India without facing a trial through a resolution which allowed her to switch her diplomatic status to that of a United Nations’ employee, which granted her a greater degree of immunity.
Secretary of State John Kerry met with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in Switzerland this week, in an attempt to move past the controversy and mend diplomatic ties between the U.S. and India. During the meeting, both sides expressed their eagerness to move forward from the incident and their commitment to the indispensable U.S.-India partnership.