US orders diplomat to leave New Delhi

The State Department ordered one of its diplomats at the U.S. embassy in New Delhi, India to leave on Friday, multiple reports said. 

India had demanded earlier that the diplomat leave their country. Its government did not name the person.

The demand is the latest in a series of rifts between the two countries. It stems from the recent controversy involving an Indian diplomat who was indicted Thursday on charges that she didn’t adequately pay her housekeeper, and got her into the country illegally by committing visa fraud. 

Despite the indictment by a federal grand jury in New York, the U.S. government granted Devyani Khobragade full immunity. She left the country on Friday.

After her departure, India’s Foreign Ministry said that an American diplomat, who holds the same rank as Khobragade, should leave the country. The agency did not name the diplomat.

This is not the first instance in the case in which India has threatened the U.S. In December: authorities in New Delhi used bulldozers to remove security barriers in front of the U.S. embassy in December. The blockades are used to block traffic on the road in front of the compound.

The action was in retaliation to Khobragade’s arrest that month, which she said involved a strip-search and cavity search.

U.S. officials denied performing a cavity search, but confirmed they did strip-search her after her arrest.

India’s deputy consul general had previously called for the U.S. to drop the charges against their diplomat, arguing that the housekeeper had blackmailed her. 

Obama administration officials have described the tense ordeal as an “isolated incident” in U.S. relations with India.  

— This story was updated at 1:53 p.m.

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