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The arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York City has triggered a diplomatic crisis between the United States and India, threatening to derail the carefully constructed rapprochement between the two countries. The cause of the row is relatively trivial, but it has assumed monstrous proportions as a result of the emotions invested in the dispute. There are important lessons to be learned from this incident.

On Dec. 12, Devyani Khobragade, an Indian diplomat who worked as a consular official in New York City, was arrested and charged with perjury and visa fraud. The offenses pertained to documentation that she had signed attesting to the terms of employment for a housekeeper whom she’d brought from India.

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