After Khobragade: Can U.S.-India Relations Recover?

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Devyani Khobragade, the Indian diplomat at the center of a controversial spat between the world’s two largest democracies, returned to India at the end last week, leaving her family and a grand jury indictment behind in the U.S. Khobragade, India’s deputy consul in New York, was arrested Dec. 12 on charges of visa fraud and making false statements regarding the employment of her live-in domestic worker, to the shock of Indian officials who insisted upon her immunity. Reports of her treatment by New York police—which included a strip search—stung Indian national pride and drew the ire of Indian media, spurring New Delhi to take various retaliatory measures against U.S. diplomats posted in India. The impasse ended after the U.S. accepted Khobragade’s right to immunity, but immediately requested it be waived because of the existing case against her; Even if Khobragade’s repatriation brings closure to what’s been a tortuous, month-long saga—and there are signs that it may not—analysts warn of the damage it’s already done to ties between the two countries.