The Indian Government is funny

Dec 21, 2013

As required by our parent-child agreement, I have a video chat with my parents every Sunday. During these chats, my parents talk about different random things, and accordingly in the last chat my dad brought up the issue of Khobragade. He started off saying that the US government is extremely vain and is a big bully for not honoring the “diplomatic” immunity granted to (Ms? Mrs?) Khobragade, and for arresting her in the street and subjecting her to a strip search.

Having given up reading newspapers a few years back (I find the news in India to be too depressing) I was naturally unaware of what was going on, so a few Google searches told me what had happened with the Indian lady. She took a maid to the US from India after promising the visa guys that she would pay the maid minimum wages, and then she proceeded to not pay her maid minimum wages. The maid went and complained to the authorities, who arrested Khobragade in public, and now the Indian government is outraged over how the “diplomat” has been treated.

You might have noticed that every instance of the word “diplomat” has been in quotes so far. That’s because my Google searches revealed that the immunity granted to Khobragade is actually insular immunity and not diplomatic immunity, which means that she can still be prosecuted for breaking local laws, same as any other citizen. And according to the US marshalls, she was arrested according to the local protocols in the state of Washington, so it’s not even as if she was strip-searched just to spite India, or because the arresting officers wanted to feel her up.

And this is how it should be. You go to another country, you break their laws, you get punished for it. It’s fucking common sense, you don’t need a grand jury to tell you this. And despite all of that, the Indian government is “outraged”. After seeing that verbally announcing their outrage to the media wasn’t changing anything, the government switched up its tactics and went back to doing what it does best: behave like a petulant child. They went ahead and removed the security barricades that had been placed outside the US embassy in Delhi. And it seems that they even tried to confiscate the ID cards of Americans working there.

This would be a fine plan if the US government actually cared about what India thinks of them. It would work if the Indian government had any amount of significant pull with the US. As it turns out, we don’t. The US doesn’t need us, we need them. When you’re pulling a lion’s tale, you need to be aware that it’s the lion’s disinterest that is keeping you alive, and not your wits or striking good looks. I’m pretty sure that the US can choose to just close their embassies here and start denying entry to every Indian to the states. And where will that leave us? High and dry, with our beloved “diplomat” back on Indian soil, and breaking laws here instead of shaming herself in the states.

I might sound bitter here, but I’m honestly just flabbergasted. What does the Indian government expect to happen here?