Monday, January 13, 2014

A ridiculous spat . . . now over?

The Devyani Khobragade incident now appears to be over, hopefully.  But I suspect that there are going to be longer term consequences.  To put what is India's most important bilateral relationship at risk over such an issue shows very little maturity or strategic sense.  Much of the commentary from retired IFS folks (many of whom I know and respect a lot) borders on hysteria and others of the Indian 'strategic' community appear to have joined in, though there was some push back, especially from the Indian Express and its editor Shekhar Gupta.  Meanwhile the Left couldn't seem to figure out whether to go after the American Imperialists or the Indian State, a target rich environment from their perspective.

On the other hand, a very unscientific survey based on the comments sections of essays and news items might suggest that the outrage on TV studios is not entirely shared by the rest of the country (or at least those who write-in such comments).  Though there was some outrage here too, I did find a significant amount of push-back about the ethical issues involved.  But, of course, I reiterate, an extremely unscientific survey.

My take was published in Economic Times as the controversy broke and it is posted below.

Delhi should avoid lasting damages to India-US ties

As the imbroglio over Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's arrest in New York escalates, it is important that both Washington and New Delhi ensure that this row does not affect the strategic relationship that the two countries hope to build.