India ordered a U.S. Embassy official to leave the country as the diplomatic row between the two countries begins to look foolish to the international community. India expelled the U.S. official after the U.S. had sent home one of India’s diplomats.
Devyani Khobragade was charged by U.S. officials for falsifying documents for her visa and lying about not paying her housekeeper the minimum wage.
However, she was allowed to leave the U.S. in a deal that was aimed at easing the growing tensions between the two countries.
Only once before has a U.S. diplomat been expelled by India. A U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed that the official from the U.S. embassy in New Delhi would be leaving India for the U.S. at the Indian government’s request.
The spokesperson from the U.S. said the U.S. government regretted that the government of Indian felt it was necessary to expel a U.S. official, labeling the current relations between the countries as very challenging.
Khobragade was a deputy consul general for India at the United Nations. A grand jury indicted her Thursday, but she will not face arraignment after her diplomatic immunity was acknowledged by the U.S.
The government of the U.S. has asked the government of India to waive the diplomat’s immunity so they could prosecute, but when India refused, the U.S. asked the diplomat to leave.
The arrest of Khobragade on December 12 outside the school in Manhattan where her children attended classes and her strip search that followed while she was detained, caused an uproar in India, resulting in the current diplomatic tit for tat.
Prosecutors in Manhattan, led by Preet Bharara the U.S. Attorney, who was originally born in India, claim the Indian diplomat paid her domestic worker that she brought from India only $3.31 an hour, despite putting on her application for a visa that she paid $9.50 an hour.
New details were disclosed in her indictment that said she and others allegedly attempted to silence or intimidate the domestic worker and the worker’s family while also lying to Indian courts and authorities.
Bharara said the charges would remain open against Khobragade, who claims them to be baseless and false.