India's Ministry of Foreign Affairs directed the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi on Monday to shut down all "commercial activities" at the embassy's American club in the latest tit-for-tat after allegations of mistreatment during the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.
The Foreign Ministry's notice concerning the American Community Support Association stated that membership by non-diplomats was "incompatible with the functions of the Mission and a clear violation of Article 41 (3) of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.” The ministry asked the embassy to submit tax returns for the club by January 16. The Indian government has also instructed the New Delhi police to waive diplomatic immunity for traffic violations involving embassy vehicles.
The diplomatic drama began in December 2013 when Indian deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade, 39, was arrested for making false statements in support of a visa application for an Indian national whom she had brought to New York as part of her household staff, and paying the staff member less than minimum wage.
Tensions sparked between India and the U.S. when Khobragade alleged mistreatment during her arrest, an accusation denied by the State Department, the U.S. Marshal Service, and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office. In retribution, Indian officials snubbed a U.S. congressional delegation and ordered the removal of barricades that protect the American embassy in Dehli in December.