India requested Tuesday that U.S. diplomats return their diplomatic identity cards following the arrest last week of the woman who is India's deputy consul general in New York, in an escalation of tension unprecedented in recent relations between the two countries.
The measure could mean the de facto canceling of diplomatic immunity for U.S. government officials in this country, to which the Indian government added the further payback of dismantling the protective barriers around the U.S. Embassy in this capital.
Both decisions were leaked Tuesday morning to local media and confirmed this afternoon to Efe by a high-ranking official of the Indian government, though early in the evening there was still no official announcement of the measures.
The U.S. Embassy did not respond to calls throughout the day from the international press, while India's Foreign Minister Salman Kurshid would only speak about protecting the dignity of the nation, without providing any further details.
The mounting tension came after Kurshid himself summoned the American ambassador in New Delhi, Nancy Powell, last Friday to deliver his "energetic protest" for the arrest the day before of diplomat Devyani Khobragade.
The 39-year-old Ms. Khobragade, deputy consul general at the Indian Consulate in New York, was arrested and handcuffed by police after allegedly lying in her application for a visa so that a female employee of hers could live in the United States.
The diplomat was released after posting bail of $250,000 and, she said, after being slapped and locked in a cell with drug addicts and prostitutes, and generally treated in a way described as "barbaric" by her father Uttan in a statement on channel NDTV.
Khobragade has been accused of fraud by a Manhattan prosecutor of Indian origin, Preet Bharara, who said the deputy consul general forged documents in order to obtain a visa for a woman who works for her as a housekeeper and nanny for her two daughters. EFE