Devyani Affair : Start of Long Struggle?

Readers would note that this writer has frequently alluded to transnational lobbies and described them as the decisive factor determining political developments. This may have sounded like paranoia reflecting faith in wild conspiracy theories. But the truth is that globalization has not only embraced the economy but equally affected both international and domestic politics. The reason is self-evident.

After the big multinational corporations achieved worldwide influence their loyalty and commitments in the natural course transcended national boundaries in pursuit of their profits. The influence exerted by money on politicians worldwide inevitably led to the same trend in politics. Therefore in assessing international relations it is over simple to identify nations.

What may be at work is a transnational lobby cutting across nations. This presupposes of course that for transnational lobbies to penetrate nations there must have occurred subversion of the government and that nation’s system. The key to assess events therefore becomes the specific agenda followed by a transnational lobby. Paradoxically, the knowledge of the transnational lobby’s influence in any particular event cannot diminish the government’s responsibility in allowing it to occur. The bottom line therefore is that even though a transnational lobby may be the instigator of any event it is the government of that nation that must be held accountable. In other words, governments must deliver regardless of the compulsions they face.

Pakistan of course offers the most glaring example of this problem. Undoubtedly a substantial segment of the Pakistan ruling establishment and public are desirous of good relations with India. But there is also a powerful subversive element within the establishment which through terror threats succeeds in demoralizing the silent majority into acquiescence. Confronted by this situation New Delhi has no choice but to sympathize with the sane elements in Pakistan but to demand that its government must deliver in order to safeguard India’s own national interest. That is how governments are compelled to conduct international relations in a world dominated by transnational lobbies.

Now there has occurred an event that indicates the influence of a powerful transnational lobby in America.

A young Indian diplomat posted in America, Ms Devyani Khobragade, was arrested in humiliating and provocative fashion on dubious grounds ignoring diplomatic immunity, handcuffed and later strip searched in custody. That this was no accident but deliberately preplanned became clear from the reaction of the US State Department. The US State Department spokesperson, Ms Marie Harf, glibly passed the buck to the justice department and the local police. She said:

“The State Department’s Diplomatic Security followed standard procedures during the arrest. After her arrest, she was passed on to the US marshals for intake and processing. So for any additional questions on her treatment, obviously, this would be the US Marshals and not us. I would refer you there.”

Khobragade was later released on a $250,000 bail and will have to appear in court in January. From the cold reaction of the State Department it should be clear that this breach of diplomatic conduct and courtesy is a deliberate and provocative act. The question is, why? How strange that while the US Defence department is eagerly seeking cooperation of the Indian navy in joint operations to establish maritime security in the Indian Ocean, the State department should commit this brazen provocation to derail Indo-US ties. Readers may draw their own conclusions.

Can there be any doubt that there are substantial elements within the US ruling establishment interested in furthering good relations with India? And yet there has occurred this brazen provocative act intended to destroy ties with India. Apart from the role of a subversive transnational lobby what other explanation could there be for this incident? Apart from international forces interested in distancing India from America who would benefit from this development? Analysts may speculate on the identity of such forces at their leisure. What needs to be understood and conveyed to US authorities is that the consequences of this action if not suitably and expeditiously reversed could be far reaching and game changing. But beyond formulating a response to the US Indians need to reflect on what this nation needs to do.

This crisis can be turned into an opportunity. The reactions of Indian leaders provide hope. The government has demanded American diplomats to furnish their identity documents as a counter snub. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar snubbed a visiting US delegation by refusing to meet it. Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi likewise administered a snub to the visiting Americans. Cutting across parties Indian leaders displayed promptitude and unity. This should be considered just a start. India’s political leaders should wake up to the dangerous and devious world abroad. Is it not time to unite and face the challenge of hostile transnational forces working against India? Administering snubs to the American government is not enough. There is a long diplomatic war against an unseen enemy that lies ahead. And a weakened India in desperate need of political reform to revive governance needs to marshal all its forces to meet the challenge effectively.

It is not enough for Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi to unite in rebuffing America. Is it not time for leaders to rise above partisan politics, submerge their egos and work as a team to protect national interest? Rahul Gandhi seems interested in party organizational work. Narendra Modi wants to run the government. Why cannot they work as a team? Why cannot Congress and BJP unite in taking forward the battle to its logical conclusion?

India needs systemic reform to restore governance. It needs strategic thinking to conduct foreign policy. It needs united national effort to succeed. Why cannot the Congress and BJP pool their talent and resources and form a national consensus government that might draw most other likeminded parties into its fold? If this were done in five to ten years India would change and become capable of even changing the world. This will be scoffed at as a wild dream. But do not all great ventures begin with a dream?


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3374      Comments: 6

Comment There is much more to this case than meets the eye-and the ears & Brain..A lot of Speculative articles & Jingoistic comments have appeared but not one appears Fully Rational.The Indian Political,Bureaucratic & Intelligence apparatus seem Clueless about the real reasons & timing of Devyani;s arrest & seem to be over reacting-The Results could be Disastrous....The writer should now THINK ON A DIFFERENT WAVELENGTH [Lateral Thinking ]...Could BOBBY JINDAL's announcement of Running for USA Presidency in 2016 on a Republican Ticket be the Cause---The Democrats & President Obama can use this incident to Polarise American Public opinion against India & Indians..The Loser in the Long Term would be India & Bobby Jindal..The Pakistan & China Lobby would be only too glad to inflame the Incident further...

30-Dec-2013 09:28 AM

Comment In this case, our government (MEA) took a tough stand. Such actions are welcome. But at the same time it faltered and to an extent over-reacted. I would have been happy if the stand was taken is on the humanitarian grounds with no reference to diplomatic immunity. Firstly, an impression was created that the US violated Vienna Convention norms. Later there was this act of upgrading her status so that she becomes eligible for full immunity which implies that she did not have immunity to start with. Looks like MEA was hoping that immunity be with retrospective effect.

Once the US took rigid stand with regard to withdrawal of the case against Devyani and also with regard to retrospective immunity, there was a distinct change in the tone of our Hon'ble Minister Salman Khurshid.

Let us also not forget that the lady in question has high connections. It is not a small thing that she is one of the illegal beneficiaries in Adarsh scam. Let it also be not forgotten that this incident has come up overnight. The whole episode involving Ms. Richard has a history of several months if not years.

Al said, it is difficult to sympathize with Devyani or to pat on the back of our government.

21-Dec-2013 20:27 PM

Comment Yes, the kind of reactions by political class in India is surprising this time, it is indeed 'unusual' but I would expect even tougher steps by Indian govt to ensure justice is done.

Dinesh Kumar bohre
20-Dec-2013 01:17 AM

Comment The laws are created and modified by demoractically elected representatives in a democracy. If laws are not delivering services the way they should be, then what's preventing the oldest and 'matured' democracy to modify those laws ? [this is for the argument - that systems in USA work accoding to defined procedures and laws].

Crealy, the Devyani case is about unfair handling, there are several incidents in this case when the (American) system did not deliver what a just society and a fair justice system would do otherwise.

Something is wrong or being purposefully made it wrong. One can not establish that since USA system is fair comparitively, it is not vulnarable to make blunders.

The US immigration system, that rejects visa to many Indian students, IT professionals and relatives of Indians working in USA on silly grounds, issued visa to family of Sangeeta Richard despite a pending search notice for her from India.

And last but not the least, one should not ignore the Iraq war as far as morality and justice matters.

Hence it is logically right to question the blind-believers in intentions and style of USA functioning in internaitonal/foreign matters.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
20-Dec-2013 00:49 AM


While making a comment- 5 imp.facts need to be highlighted 1) The American legal & Justice system is among the best in the world 2) The Indian Justice & legal system is NOT a fair system 3) The reaction by the Indian Political class has been Hyper reactive & Jingoistic as usual 4) Human rights are neglected in India 5) There are Powerfull lobbies in USA like Jewish lobby,Pakistan lobby, China lobby etc which often exert actions likely to put USA in embarrassment in Govt. to Govt.dealings etc...This Particular case has definitely been treated in a high handed manner by the USA authorities, but a full investigation of all facts needs to be done & a mature response is expected from both the Countries..Lastly, the Diplomat's MAID in question also has Human & legal rights & her version also needs to be probed..Making false statements,Giving false affidavits has become a habit of the Indian Political & Bureaucratic class.

19-Dec-2013 14:00 PM

Comment Such provocations have taken place in recent past too and there were no corrective actions taken in the USA. Therefore, there are strong forces in USA within, that feel happiness in such incidents. Leave along external or business interests compelling such actions by US aiuthorities.

This should be an eye opener that USA authorities are not as truthful and justice-loving as many (Indians) believe.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
19-Dec-2013 01:58 AM

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