US envoy scraps Nepal trip after India acts tough

US envoy scraps Nepal trip after India acts tough

US envoy to India Nancy J Powell cancelled her visit to Nepal following Indian government’s withdrawal of the special airport pass issued to her on December 19 in the aftermath of the Devyani Khobragade arrest.

She had informed the Indian government about her visit, but called it off after the Ministry of External Affairs conveyed to the US embassy in India that Powell’s pass stood withdrawn.

The MEA had issued special airport passes to the US ambassador to India and several other diplomats and consular officials working at American Embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.

However, this gesture was never reciprocated by the US Government. In fact, New Delhi’s envoys to Washington or other Indian diplomats in the US never enjoyed any special privilege in the airports in America.

Meera Shankar, the then ambassador of India to the US, was in fact asked to come out of a queue for security checks at the Jackson-Evers International Airport in Mississippi in December 2010 and was subjected to a “pat-down search”.

While Powell had an exclusive airport pass with her photo affixed on it, other US diplomats and consular officials used the transferable passes which had no photos.

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