The only thing that is surprising about the diplomatic row between India and the U.S. is the hypocritical and collective wailing on the part of the Indian political class (Dec. 18). This is such a minor footnote in U.S. news coverage and our so-called “high status” is largely imagined. Let us call a spade a spade, for a change. Countries in the West will never be our warm and fuzzy friends. What these nations want from India is the best of what we have to offer, like technical expertise in various fields and open markets for their products. Our relationship with them will be mostly economic in nature, and no more. We would do well to understand this and frame our policies and practices based on this “realpolitik,” rather than on some imagined and exaggerated sense of self-importance.
G. Parameswaran, Coimbatore
A recent survey by the Walk Free Foundation found that India has the largest number of modern-day slaves, followed by China and Pakistan. This shows that Indians, especially wealthy people, are accustomed to having domestic help. Also, we Indians are so used to lax laws in matters of protection of workers’ rights and bribery that we try to break the law even in the most powerful country and then expect to get away with it.
A. Nihar, Guntur
Would the U.S. have resorted to similar treatment if the diplomat was from China, or for that matter, even Pakistan? I doubt it. Leave aside the diplomatic row between the governments, did any Indian American or Non-Resident Indian in the U.S. protest against Ms Khobragade’s arrest?
R. Venkataraman, Chennai
We should have displayed similar spine during incidents involving George Fernandes, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, envoy Hardeep Singh Puri and ambassador Meera Shankar.
Kapil Dev Surira, Kannur
Looking at the salary paid to consulate employees, it appears that Ms Khobragade — since transferred — draws an average salary. Considering the cost of living in New York, this is a meagre amount. I have lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years and I know how much an ordinary individual needs to make to ensure one has a decent life. Perhaps, the Indian government is partly responsible for what has happened, which led her to “save money.” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must now confer with President Obama and resolve the issue at the earliest. What is at stake now is countless issues over which the U.S. can arm-twist India.
Ramabhadran Narayanan, Coimbatore
True, reciprocity is justified and may even be recommended in diplomacy, but it is better that it is tempered with studied and mature restraint, especially when one deals with a powerful country that is “friendly,” or makes a pretence of it. Of the six steps India has taken, the first two, namely, withdrawing diplomatic privileges and airport passes, could have served the purpose. We could have waited for a response, and then followed it up with the other four and harsher steps. As for the last one, removing barricades from outside the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, it was an irresponsible measure, immature, and not in conformity with our national culture and tradition.
Itty Varghese, Kottayam