India politicians snub US delegation over diplomat arrest

NEW DELHI, December 17, 2013 (AFP) – India launched a series of reprisals Tuesday against US officials, foreign ministry sources said, as outrage grows over a diplomat’s arrest in New York, which New Delhi has branded “humiliating”. In an escalating row over the arrest, the government ordered a range of measures including the return of identity cards for US consular officials that speed up travel into and through India, the sources said.

“We have ordered the withdrawal of all ID cards that are issued by the Ministry of External Affairs to the officials at the US consulates across India,” a senior ministry source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The government will also stop all import clearances for the US embassy including liquor, the sources said, while Indian security forces removed barricades from outside the US embassy in New Delhi.

Tow-trucks and mechanical diggers were seen taking away the heavy barriers which control traffic from the streets around the embassy.

The moves come after deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade was arrested last week while dropping her children at school, for allegedly underpaying her domestic helper who is also an Indian national and for lying on the helper’s visa applicatio