In an escalating diplomatic row, India has asked the US to return IDs issued to all its consular officers posted in the country, a move which may be a precursor to reviewing immunity and benefits enjoyed by them as a protest to the treatment meted out to India's Deputy Consul General in New York.
"Government has asked the US to return the ID cards given to their consular officers posted in India," Government sources told PTI.
It is understood that the government intends to review the immunity and benefits enjoyed by US diplomats.
Significantly, the review comes after India reacted sharply to Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade being arrested and handcuffed in public in New York on visa fraud charges last week by summoning US Ambassador Nancy Powell and issuing a demarche in this regard.
The displeasure was also evident among leaders and officials of Indian government.Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today cancelled his meeting with a senior US Congressional delegation ostensibly as a mark of protest against the treatment meted out to Khobragade.
Yesterday, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had cancelled her meeting with a senior US Congressional delegation due to the same reason.
National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, who also had a scheduled meeting with the five-member US team, did not meet them, apparently for the same reason.
The delegation comprised Congressmen George Holding (Republican - North Carolina), Pete Olson (Republican - Texas) David Schweikert (Republican - Arizona), Robert Woodall (Republican - Georgia), Madeleine Bordallo (Democrat - Guam).
39-year-old Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was taken into custody last week on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.