11.01.2014 Author: Vladimir Platov

India-US: The American Immunity


Source: Xinhua

Relations between India and the U.S. continue deteriorating after the discriminatory actions the U.S. authorities have taken in the regard of the Indian vice-consul Devyani Khobragade, that was arrested despite the fact that she was an official Indian representative to the UN.

In response to the charges against the India diplomat, that is allegedly guilty of fraudulent activities in regard of her personal maid, the Indian authorities have started to take adequate measures against American institutions and citizens that are trying to impose on their own rules on the pretext that they are representing a “superpower”.

Thus India has demanded the closure of the American Community Support Association club, a business that contradicts the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. This club offered American citizens fitness training, bowling, swimming pools, a bar and a restaurant while paying no local taxes. The U.S. diplomats can no longer disobey the local driving rules without paying fines for it, they have also lost all privileges in the Indian airports. Earlier, the security barricades that were installed after the September 11 attacks at the front of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi got removed.

According to The Hindustan Times, the Indian government has delayed the next round of the energy talks with the U.S. side.  the visit of the U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to India got canceled.

India has also initiated a detailed investigation of working conditions of the local citizens employed by the American institutions and families. It’s a well known fact that a majority of staff employed by the U.S. diplomatic missions are using the labor of the Asian States citizens (in particular from India, Philippines, Thailand , etc.). Their wages are significantly lower than the wages of the U.S. citizens working at the same positions.

The U.S. authorities are fond of declaring “strategic partnerships” and “allied relations” with most any country in the world, since Washington is trying to strengthen its positions all over the globe. Particular attention in this rhetoric is paid to the Asian region , which is still unofficially regarded as “the third world”. In order to achieve its goals “Big Brother” is using various strategies of manipulation, often financial ones – by providing loans and “aid” to the “friendly” countries. Most often than not such “assistance” is offered in the form of American arms since this would make a foreign state completely dependent on the United States. A kin reader may inquire for himself how many military agreements the U.S. has recently signed with such Asian “strategic allies” as Japan, South Korea, the Philippines , Afghanistan, Pakistan , etc. In exchange for such agreements Washington demands strict compliance of his “allies” with a number of political and legal requirements, including the one of providing Americans with special privileges and immunities. In case someone is to break this requirements the U.S. starts threatening him with stopping their “aid” .

The most striking example – is the US negotiations with Afghanistan on the Bilateral Security Agreement. The U.S. pressures its Afghan colleagues to adopt it, since this agreement grants the U.S. military representatives immunity from prosecution which could come really handy. The U.S. soldiers are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of local civilians that were killed in drone attacks that were allegedly fighting terrorists and drug traffickers .

There’s a truly appropriate question: why wouldn’t the White House use drones in the American cities and villages in order to fight terrorists and drug traffickers? Or the use of these weapons is only appropriate on the foreign ground, where foreign citizens are dying and nobody is going to be held responsible for this?

In this regard, one can recall the arrest of a CIA contractor Raymond Davis in Pakistan that occurred in January 2011. He shot a local in the back and then fired two more rounds in the heads of two young men on a motorcycle who apparently were following him,  since they were working for the Pakistani secret service – the ISI . The arrested enjoyed no diplomatic immunity and at the moment of his detention he provided civil ID. However, the U.S. Embassy demanded Pakistan to release him, Raymond was freed from custody despite all the charges against him, under the pretext that he’s an employee of the U.S. intelligence thus he “enjoys special immunity from prosecution”

It looks like the Washington devised some special kind of “immunity” for its own citizens while ignoring the rights of foreigners and the international law all together. Sadly, there’s nothing to wonder about since the US has been providing the representatives of its intelligence services in Asia, and India with diplomatic immunities, even though they were not performing any diplomatic functions. These “happy few” are the employees of American interception and electronic monitoring  centers  ( including in India) , that are constantly watching the political leaders of Asia, the social life in these countries , thereby breaking universally recognized human rights , protection of which has been continually declared by  senators and various U.S. policy makers.

As for the incident with Khobragade, the Indian Foreign Minister Sujatha Singh has recently warned the U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell, that the relationships between the two countries can not go on as usual since Delhi requires apologies along with the withdrawal of all charges against the Indian diplomat. But the U.S. disregarded the demands of its “strategic partner”, on January 9 Devyani Khobragade has been formally charged so she was forced to  leave the United States .

Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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