India plays hardball with US as diplomat maid row escalates

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US consulate ID cards withdrawn, embassy’s security trimmed. US consulate ID cards withdrawn, embassy’s security trimmed.
SummaryUS consulate ID cards withdrawn, embassy’s security trimmed.

consulates have to be shared.

Besides, US staff at the consulates have been asked to provide details of the employment of their spouses or dependents along with tax details, bank account numbers and salary details.

In related moves, political leaders, ministers and Indian government officials have also cancelled their meetings with a visiting US Congressional delegation. Those who called off meetings with the delegation include Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

Describing the incident as “unacceptable”, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that a process has been “put in motion” to deal with the issue effectively.

“We have put in motion what we believe would be an effective way of addressing the issue...We have expressed our deep distress and sense of disquiet, that has been very very strongly felt, in the strongest words possible,” he said.

BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad condemned the incident and said the treatment of the diplomat “does not accord to the level of friendship that the Indian government claims to have with the US”.

“The way she was arrested after being handcuffed, kept with drug addicts and strip-searched in the police station; that is condemnable, reprehensible and regrettable and in clear violation of conventions,” he said.

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, who also called off his meeting with the Congressional delegation, termed the treatment meted out to the diplomat as “despicable” and “barbaric”.

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