India and the US are democratic countries where it is free to hold different opinions and beliefs. And India is in no position to influence the thinking of the world’s most powerful country (as referred to in a leading US newspaper edit on the Devyani's humiliation issue). So the US has every right to hold on to its beliefs.
But when it came to direct action, even a country like India could not remain unresponsive. And that is what happened in the Devayani humiliation case. When Devayani was arrested in a humiliating manner, India could not accept the ‘standard procedure’ argument which left many intriguing questions unanswered, and keep quiet.
When it came to light that the husband and children of Sangeetha were flown to the US two days prior to the arrest of Devayani and when the Manhatten attorney explained that the ‘evacuation’ was aimed at protecting them from legal action in India, India had to come to terms with the fact that it was the Govt. of India and not Devyani who is humiliated, in view of the following:
1. That the US considered Sangeetha as a human trafficking victim knowing fully well that Sangeetha is an Indian citizen who travelled to the US on an Indian passport to serve an Indian diplomat there, leading to the inescapable inference that the US considered Govt. of India to be responsible for the alleged human trafficking.
2. That the US thought it fit to ‘evacuate’ persons against whom proceedings were pending in a court in India; that a person of the status of Manhatten attorney had been vested with the power to act to thwart the legal proceedings of a high court in India and that he had been given the privilege to justify the act in a public statement.
Now that the psyche of India is severely wounded, the US has two clear options for future course of action based on whether the US acted due to a wrong reading of the facts or deliberately to punish India for its recent defiance in policy matters.
In case it is the latter, the US can continue with the legal action against Devyani, rebuke India for its demand for apology and retaliate against the cancellation of certain privileges enjoyed by the US diplomats in India. This will send a strong message to the other countries who will be reminded forcefully that might alone is right at least in international politics.
In case it is due to the wrong reading of facts, the US can redeem the situation through the following steps:
1. Drop the case against Devyani.
2. Send Sangeetha and her family back to India
3. Punish the officials who erred
This will go a long way in promoting better relations on lasting terms with India and a host of other countries who fall in the same category. And bring bright sunshine back to the calm winter skies over New Delhi and New York.
In fact the US can go a step further and apologise to India for trying to interfere with the Indian legal system and compensate Devyani for the humiliation which should have been avoided. But these things fall in the category of wishful thinking, not worth pursuing. Yet they cannot be ruled out. Who knows what the summer months or the falls portend.