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Nearly a month after American authorities arrested India's deputy consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, outside her children's school and charged her with paying her Indian domestic worker a salary below the minimum wage, bilateral relations remain tense.The initial American rationale (that foreign consuls in the U.S. enjoy a lower level of immunity than other diplomats) led India's government to re-examine privileges enjoyed by U.S. consular officials that are unavailable to their Indian counterparts in the U.S. These privileges – including full-fledged diplomatic ID cards, access to the restricted customs areas of airports, tax-free shipments of items for personal consumption and no questions asked about the terms of their employment of local domestic staff – were swiftly withdrawn.The cash part of the salary may be low by U.S. standards – Khobragade herself, as a midranking Indian diplomat, earns less than what the U.S. considers a fair wage – but with the other benefits, the compensation is attractive for a domestic helper.
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