India’s request to accredit diplomat approved by UN

The United Nations has approved a request from India to accredit a New York-based diplomat after her arrest by US authorities on criminal charges including visa fraud, a UN official has confirmed.

Indian media said the request to transfer Devyani Khobragade, who was deputy consul-general in New York, to the United Nations was aimed at ending the stand-off with the United States in the hopes that her new diplomatic status could allow New Delhi to bring her home without the prosecution proceeding.

Khobragade’s arrest on December 12 has enraged India, which is demanding that all charges be dropped against her. She was strip searched and subjected to an invasive body search when arrested by US Marshals. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath has said, ‘The conduct and attitude that the US has shown regarding the Devyani issue is a matter of concern not only for India but also for all countries, and everyone should raise their voice.’

As India’s deputy consul general in New York, Khobragade had only limited diplomatic immunity from prosecution — not the more sweeping immunity accorded to UN-accredited diplomats.