World View -- Positions Harden in US/India Diplomatic Debacle

This morning's key headlines from

  • Positions harden in U.S. vs India diplomatic debacle
  • Poland surges past the EU in military modernization and growth
  • Poland offers France logistical support in Central African Republic

Positions harden in U.S. vs India diplomatic debacle

Devyani Khobragade
Devyani Khobragade

The diplomatic debacle between the U.S. and India seems to be escalating, as new facts come out and positions harden on both sides. ( "18-Dec-13 World View -- Arrest in NY of female Indian diplomat raises a major diplomatic altercation".) 

Devyani Khobragade, an Indian diplomat, was arrested for underpaying her nanny, also an Indian, and for lying about the pay on her visa application. Indians are furious because Khobragade was arrested, strip searched, and forced to sit in a lockup with drug users for several hours, which the New York City police say is standard procedure. 

Well where, you might ask, was the nanny in all of this? That's where the new facts are coming out. The nanny's name is Sageeta Richard. Khobragade says that Richard disappeared on June 24 and then attempted to blackmail Khobragade for money. Richard also stole from her, according to Khobragade. Richard's attorney says that until she left, she was forced to work seven days a week, from early morning to late at night for little pay. 

Khobragade is now out of jail on bail, but the U.S. State Dept. is refusing to grant her diplomatic immunity, saying that diplomatic immunity applies "only for acts performed in exercise of her consular duties." A State Dept. spokesman says that there are no plans to drop the criminal complaint: "We take these allegations very seriously. We're not in any way walking back from those allegations or the charges. Again, this is really a law enforcement issue." 

Indian reports say that they are working with the State Dept. to find a way to grant Khobragade "retroactive immunity," so that she can be returned to India. Washington Post and Indian Express

Poland surges past the EU in military modernization and growth

At a time when Europe appears to be disarming voluntarily, Russia is having a resurgence as a military power, raising concerns in Poland about Russia as a potential threat to its security and sovereignty. The concerns reached a high anxiety level in 2008 following two landmark developments: Russia's invasion of Georgia, annexing two Georgian provinces, and a NATO summit that ended the prospects of NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. These events brought back the specter of conventional state-on-state conflict along Europe’s periphery. While NATO and the United States remain central to Poland’s security, there has been a reorientation in Poland’s strategy toward regional and traditional territorial defense. 

Poland has doubled its defense spending over the past decade, and the ministry of defense has launched an armed forces modernization plan to cost $61 billion by 2022. The hardware shopping list will include new ships, helicopters, tanks and armored personnel carriers, additional aircraft, and, most importantly, new air and missile defenses. The antiballistic (ABM) system is the most significant of Poland’s military modernization efforts and felt to be most needed for protection from Russia. Poland plans to spend an additional $30 billion on equipment modernization across the services on added information technology capabilities and on increasing the overall combat readiness of the Polish forces. An old Polish saying captures well the public mood on national defense: "If you can count, ultimately count on yourself." AEI

Poland offers France logistical support in Central African Republic

France's president François Hollande has been begging for help in Central African Republic, where the situation continues to worsen despite the presence of 1600 French soldiers. France is alone in C.A.R., and Hollande would like the help of some other European countries, because then it would be "considered a European operation and there would be financial aid." Poland has agreed to help out and will give France logistical support with a military transport aircraft and a service crew of 50 soldiers starting on February 1, 2014 for three months. AFP

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, India, Devyani Khobragade, Sageeta Richard, Poland, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Nato 

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